I currently work in an office with a lovely view of a street. It’s a beautiful street, but it’s still a street. You know what I really want to do? I want to work from the beach, especially when it gets hot. And I want ice-cream on tap. That’d be my dream job.
However, such a dream job comes with its share of risks. Delicate equipment is always vulnerable to elements such as surf and sand. So before I decide to pack everything and head to the coast, what are ten gadgets that can protect your valuables while not impeding your ability to work?
A smartphone is a must-have item for keeping in touch with friends, customers, and colleagues. However, not all make the grade in terms of their resistance to water. Some of the top models that have displayed a rugged durability for the beach include the Sony Xperia Z3, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC Desire Eye. The latter phone is said to be completely waterproof, however I wouldn’t be tempted to throw it in the sea.
If you’re going to use a laptop on the beach, it should be resistant to water as well as to the ravages of sand. Those which have made the cut for 2015 include the Getac B300, the ROCKY RT, the Panasonic Toughbook 31 and the Latitude E6420 XFR.
Panasonic Toughbooks are a favourite, simply because I saw one being blow up on the TV last year. It survived, so that’s the one I’d have if visiting a war zone.
It is also a good idea if your phone is further protected with the help of a durable carrying case. Those that are considered to be waterproof are the EscapeCapsule, the Amphibx Fit (conveniently strapped around the arm) and the Aqua Tek S (waterproof when submerged up to 20 feet).
Sand can easily get into a keyboard and cause grave problems on a windy day. One of the ways around this is to purchase a cover that can prevent this from occurring. A handful of the best are manufactured by companies such as Fentec, WetKeys and Seal Shield. Look them up and find one that fits your particular laptop.
Transporting your work centre to and from the beach can be just as challenging. So, it only makes sense that you possess a laptop case that can protect your valuables from water and sand. Top-of-the-line examples of this ability can be seen in models such as the Case Logic RBP-115 backpack, the Pelican Watertight Case and the Manhattan Portage Nylon Laptop Sleeve.
USB Flash Drives
This is another critical concern for your mobile office. Should your USB drive become damaged by water or sand, a great deal of information could be lost forever. So, it is a good idea to check out models such as the Orcia Waterproof Keychain, the Verbatim "Tuff-N-Tiny" flash drive and the Patriot FLEX 2.0 flash drive.
The last thing you want is to be on the phone with a client when a splash of water destroys your ability to communicate. So, a waterproof headset is another must-have accessory. Some examples of streamlined and yet rugged designs can be seen in the Tayogo Active Sport, the Jlab GO4GB-BY Go, the BlueAnt Pump and the iKross Bluetooth.
If you need to attach other hardware such as an external hard drive or even a portable set of speakers, it is important that all connections are resistant to sand and water. Thankfully, several companies have taken this need into account. Check out brands such as L-Com, GTC (GT Contact) and USB FireWire. Still, we should keep in mind that the term "waterproof" is closer to water resistant. Completely submerging any such cable in water is never a good idea!
External Hard Drives
Much like the USB memory stick, you may require an external hard drive that is resistant to sand and water. Should you need to download or upload a great deal of information, this option is a great idea to keep in mind. While this can be considered a specialty item, there are a few manufacturers which have taken on the challenge with considerable success. Examples of such models include the A-Data SH14 shockproof and waterproof 3.0 external drive and the Silicon Power A60 hard drive (one terabyte of memory is offered with this brand).
Multi-Purpose Carrying Cases
There are undoubtedly times when you will have to carry a host of other items to and from the beach (such as notebooks, documents or even a digital camera). All-purpose carrying cases are therefore just as useful. Some great models are the Pakpak Waterproof Wallet, the Aquapac Large Case and the Seal Pack waterproof bag.
Real Life Examples
Of course, that’s the fantasy, what about the reality? Well, we wanted to reach out to someone who has actually lived the lifestyle, and so we contacted Rob Cubbon. Rob has a blog that explains how to have a successful business, without being tied to the desk.
Rob travels all over the world so he’s used to working from all kinds of climates, here’s what he told us he keeps in his backpack:
An interesting point he makes is that many people he’d met also use keyboard covers, not for just keeping sand out, but because the salty air can play havoc with the keys.
Check out his post on how to work abroad without the boss finding out!