From TJ Magazine: Work's a beach

Written by Mike Ianiri on 15 August 2019 in Features
Features

Ready to live the dream? Mike Ianiri on the tech and tips you’ll need to make the beach your office.

Have you ever contemplated the possibility of working in a dream location? Maybe there is a beach in the Caribbean calling you? After all, if you are designing training programmes or delivering them online, you can do that anywhere in the world – provided you have the right technology at your fingertips. And when you have to deliver in person, you can always just hop on a plane.

If this sounds like an adventure you are ready for, let’s look at the decisions you’ll need to make regarding technology and new ways of working to make it happen.

Time for new kit?

To make the most of this experience you’ll want a good quality laptop that has the capacity you need and is light to carry. This won’t come cheap but the investment in something like a Microsoft Surface Pro will be worthwhile.

The sturdier Dell Rugged Extreme range may be needed if you are more adventurous. If you’ll be working offline a lot, you’ll need a sizeable hard drive. Running multiple programmes simultaneously and accessing the cloud will require a serious amount of RAM.

If the Caribbean is your bag, you’ll find that speeds are slow in many places. The Bahamas is currently the best at about 9.95Mbps. For contrast, the Florida coastline gives you access to 46.6Mbps. 

Make sure your new laptop doesn’t get too close to the sand and salt. And just in case of mishaps, make sure it can be repaired in your new location. You’ll also need a quality powerbank to recharge your devices.

For the laptop, phone etc, you’re likely to need a large-capacity device. Make sure you get one with the right outlet sockets or it could prove very frustrating. Many airlines won’t let you travel with the highest capacity devices, so check as you book your getaway flight.

Connecting to the internet

You’ll need to research local broadband availability and speeds. If the Caribbean is your bag, you’ll find that speeds are slow in many places. The Bahamas is currently the best at about 9.95Mbps. For contrast, the Florida coastline gives you access to 46.6Mbps.

 

If you have the luxury of living right by the beach, you may find your wifi extends to where you’re working with the sand between your toes. If not, you’ll need a 4G connection and the ability to tether via your phone. There are websites you can Google to check 4G availability.

If you’re starting your overseas work more cautiously with short trips, check your UK supplier’s roaming policies. Most UK operators charge £5 per day to use your contract data outside the EU. When you look at your data needs, check this will be enough, even allowing for backing up data online.

Planning for phone calls

Phone calls from a mobile can be expensive so think about who you need to call and where they are before you put your mobile in your beach bag. To take one example, calls to the UK from the Bahamas are at least £2 per minute.



It’s likely that a VoIP-based solution with a softphone on your laptop and/or your smartphone handset will work better for you. SIP trunk connections to other countries will mean you’re only ever making local calls, rather than calling at international rates.

If it is important to you, you’ll be able to maintain your UK landline number. That way, your clients don’t need to know you’re dabbling your toes in the water and your colleagues won’t be reminded and feel jealous. 

Avoiding data breaches

If any of your devices are stolen, life gets complicated. Data breaches of personally identifiable information for EU citizens must be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office within 72 hours. The people directly affected also need to be advised.

To avoid this nightmare, have a discussion with your IT manager or IT support company. They can help with mobile device management, biometrics or two-factor authentication (2FA) before you depart. A further security warning here: if the data on your laptop needs to be secured, be very careful about using local wifi. It is a common practice for hackers to infiltrate wifi hotspots.

 

About the author

Mike Ianiri is director of independent telecoms brokerage, Equinox.

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