I recently returned from a family adventure. We flew to Denver, rented a car, and embarked on our first DelaneysGo.com road trip. We had a wonderful time exploring the great states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. There was just one small catch, I still had to get work done along our journey.
When you run a small business, you can't simply unplug and stop working altogether. Yes, a family vacation should be all about spending time with your family, but you should never neglect your clients.
If you are like me, you have probably found yourself in the same boat (maybe even on a boat). The following are some tips to help you run your business while on your family vacation.
9 Tips to Work Remotely With Your Family
- Let your clients know that you will be on the road for a couple of weeks before departing, so they know to expect a delay hearing back from you.
- Set up your trusty, Out of Office email auto-reply with the details.
- Split the driving time with your spouse, so you can tend to your email and catch up on industry news and social media.
- If you need to get writing done, complete invoices and proposals, you can tether your laptop to your phone. Avoid videos, so your telecom doesn't penalize you with bandwidth overage fees.
- Since you will be sharing a hotel room with your children (like us), you will probably get to bed at a relatively early time each night. Be sure to wake up before the rest of your family and head to the lobby to work. Bonus points if you can walk to a local café with Wi-Fi. This gives you a little local flavor, plus you support a fellow small business.
- If you can't sleep because of the looming work you know you need to get to, sneak into the bathroom and set up your temporary office. Type quietly as you perch over the toilet (not so ergonomically designed). Stand-up comedian and Conan O'Brien staff writer, Brian Kiley, is known for writing material this way.
- If you are RVing or camping (we camped), check to see if the park has Wi-Fi. You will be surprised to learn that many do.
- Always be brainstorming ideas for new content along your travels. Use a notepad and sketch out your thoughts for blog posts, newsletters, and any other content you plan to produce.
- If your family is quietly reading, sleeping, or staring deeply into their devices as you travel, listen to an audiobook or podcast on your headphones. I usually choose non-fiction, business-related content, so I can discover new techniques to market my business and help my clients with theirs.
Be clear with your family that you still need to get some work done during your family vacation. Remind them that your business helps to pay for their trip. Without my amazing clients, we wouldn't have been able to go on our adventure.
I asked the DelaneysGo newsletter subscribers for their own remote working tips. Matthew Rogers suggested that we should be prepared with all fully charged devices to get work done. He uses his iPhone's personal hotspot to download client files. He also suggested using text edit to draft blog posts, since other software that depends on an internet connection can be spotty. Marc Apple recommended setting a certain time of day to check emails and to make phone calls. He urged readers to stick to that schedule to make the most of your time away.
Most importantly, understand that a family vacation should primarily be about your family. I am not suggesting you bury your head into your laptop or behind your mobile device during your whole holiday. Be open with your family, so they understand why you need to get work done. Don't forget why you are on a family vacation in the first place.
Have you traveled with your family and still got your work done? I'd love to hear how you did it.
This article originally appeared in The Tennessean Newspaper.