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Summary:

Let’s face it, we could still get more nasty weather before the winter is over. If you must work, then you might as well be prepared. So I’ve collected some resources that may be helpful to those of us who work remotely.

Satellite photo of winter storm

Given the nasty weather we’ve been having almost everywhere in North America and Europe, most of us are probably relieved that famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow a few days ago.

But let’s face it, we could still get more nasty weather before the winter is over. Personally, I think inclement weather means that it’s time to stay home, stay warm and take time off with family. But if you must work, then you might as well be prepared. I’ve collected some resources that may be helpful to those of us who work remotely.

Power

A couple of my clients have been affected by the unusually cold weather causing power outages in places like Texas.

If you’re using a desktop, you’ll want to get an uninterruptable power supply (UPS). But don’t expect too much. Reasonably-priced UPSes are intended to give you enough time to save your work and shut down gracefully. They won’t let you continue working for a long time; the ones I’ve tried don’t last more than an hour or so.

Of course, you can use a laptop, and rely on its battery for however long it will last. And you might be able to use backup power sources like the ZAGGSparq for smaller devices.

Internet connection

Even if your power stays on, your Internet connection might not. My primary Internet service comes from a cable modem, but if it goes down, it’s nice to be able to tether my smartphone to my laptop, use a mobile hotspot, or use a phone with hotspot capability built in.

If you don’t want to spend the extra money for the above on a regular basis, and you live in an area with 4G coverage, you might want to invest in the Rover Puck from Clear. This device, which I’ve written about previously, is reasonably cheap and lets you buy 4G connectivity on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Communicate

Assuming you have power and an Internet connection, you can use the communication and conferencing options that Simon collected last spring. Also, check out this updated list of web conferencing alternatives.

Of course, you’ll want to let clients and colleagues know what you are doing, something that’s even easier now then when I last wrote about the subject a couple of years ago.

Travel

If you feel you must travel during bad weather, Nancy put together a great list of iOS apps for surviving air travel. If you get stranded, check out Stuck at the Airport, which includes some of the unexpected services that can be found at airports worldwide.

Stay warm

While you’re out there in the weather, you might as well stay warm and connected. If you need pockets for your gear, check out the SCOTTEVEST hoodie that I’ve written about before. And use your touch-screen gear without freezing your fingers with conductive gloves from Agloves. The Agloves folks sent me some to try, and they’re surprisingly light and warm, and yes, I can use the touchscreen on my HTC Evo or iPod touch while wearing them.

Let’s hope that darn groundhog is right, and we’re in for an early spring. But in the meantime, I hope you can stay productive when “the weather outside is frightful.”

How do you keep working in extreme winter weather?

Image courtesy Rob Gutro, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

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  1. Thanks Charles for including the Rover Puck. We saw plenty of tweets from people during the recent snowstorms who were using their Puck to get work done while away from the home or office. Gotta love cheap, pay as you go internet.

    Cheers,
    Jeff from Rover

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