How To Turn Your Car Into An Always-Ready Mobile Workstation

My home internet has a habit of dying. Sometimes I need to work on the go. Both situations point to one solution: work from the car. It's actually pretty easy to get work done from your car, just as you would at home or in the office, if you acquire a few tools and prepare in advance. Here's how to do it.

Get Car-Friendly Cables and Power Adaptors

Presumably you're using a laptop to get your work done, and laptops — as well as your other devices — require power. As you know, cars generally don't provide standard outlets so you're going to need adaptors. USB power adaptors are easy enough to come by, but charging your laptop may prove to be a little more difficult as the power cable's size and requirements will vary. You may have to dig around a little bit to find the right one. Just make sure the adaptor works for your laptop and you should be good to go for not too much money. Alternatively, you can go a somewhat easier route and just add standard outlets to your car.

Either way, it's important to remember that your car's battery doesn't last forever either. If you're plugged in too long, you can drain it. That said, you don't want to leave your car idling just for power. That'll waste petrol and isn't great for the environment. Instead, just be sure to start your car every hour or so and let it run for a few minutes. Hopefully you won't spend hours working out of your car, but if you have to be sure you don't end up stranded because you let the battery die.

Use Your Tablet as a Second Display

Working from a laptop in your car means limited screen space, which can be a good thing! If you'd prefer a little extra room, however, you can extend your desktop with the help of a tablet. Air Display can create a second wireless monitor for your laptop with an app for iOS or Android. It isn't perfect — you'll experience lag because it's over the network — but it's better than nothing. You also won't be able to use it if your devices aren't on a network, but if you're using your smartphone as a mobile hotspot that shouldn't be a problem.

Don't Work from the Driver's Seat (and Other Comfort Tips)

When you're working in a car, nothing will get in your way more than the steering wheel. You need to sit somewhere else. But just moving won't be enough to keep you comfortable. You'll also want to push the passenger's seat as far back as it'll go or sit in the back if that provides more space. One way to gain even more space in the back is to push the passenger's seat as far forward as it'll go and sit in the back-right portion of the car. You can also improve your comfort by using a lapdesk. (I like this one.) Sometimes keeping your laptop low on your lap can make it difficult to push its display into the optimal position because it comes in contact with some other part of the car. Raising it up on your lap can help. It's also more comfortable to work on a lapdesk in many situations, so keeping one in your car can be doubly useful.

Got any other tricks for working better from your car? Share 'em in the comments!


Comments

    I was expecting an article of how to rig your car up with power points, a wifi hotspot and a display that you can connect laptops up too.. but this is good too :P

    My best car to work out of is a Prius. I leave the car running and use an Inverter to run my laptop etc. When the large battery gets a little flat, the car starts up like a Backup Generator and tops the battery up. The best part is the car can become an air conditioned office as the Air conditioning also runs off the battery. Work in comfort without needing to idle the engine and stink the place out. Later I added a second 12V large battery in the boot, allowing things to run for longer without needing to have the car on.
    From a geek point of view, it was a lot of fun to play with.

      I am not a big fan of the Prius but that would have to be the most compelling reason i have ever come across to get one of those cars, brilliant idea.

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