We talk about working from home, but what about working from a waiting room, or at soccer practice, or on a long car ride?
Most of us probably have laptops we can take for working on the go, or just working from some place other than a desk. But if you have a tablet, you've got another powerful tool in your work-at-home arsenal that you might not have considered.
Think about it: tablets are tiny, lightweight, easy to hold, and powerful for most of your basic work tasks.
The truth is, there's a lot you can do to work from home (or anywhere else) on a tablet. Here are just a few ideas:
Word Processing and Note Taking
Whether you use something web-based like Google Drive or Office365, or a word processor app like Apple’s Pages, consider your tablet for word processing. With generous screen sizes that are well lit, touchscreen or attachable keyboards, and dictation features that are pretty reliable and very easy to use, tablets make it easy to draft all sorts of copy.
Same goes for note taking — you can use a word processor, or find the app for your favorite note taking software and use it anytime you've got your tablet. If your tablet comes with a stylus or a handwriting recognition software, you'll love taking notes on your tablet — no more scraps of paper to keep up with!
Email and Social Media
The touchscreen operating system on a tablet makes it a breeze to take care of your email, and most if not all social media sites have apps or tablet-friendly mobile sites. So while you're in waiting mode (or just sitting around mode), schedule a few updates and get your inbox back under control. We recently talked in-depth about becoming a social media manager. The majority, if not all, of these tasks can easily be done on a tablet or even smartphone with the awesome social media and scheduling apps available.
Creating Images and Graphics
While tablet cameras are generally not ideal for taking pictures and you're limited in the types of image post-production you can do on a tablet, there's still a lot you can do with your pictures. Canva, a popular image creation software, has a great app that makes it easy to put together social media-friendly images literally with your fingertips. In my opinion, it's actually easier to use the Canva app than the website on my computer!
Use cloud-based storage like Dropbox to save your images, or send them to your computer using whatever share feature you prefer (like email or the built-in messaging app). And when you get one just right, you can upload it to your social media accounts right there on the tablet with just a few taps.
While the back end isn't as robust as it will be on a desktop site, you can still do a lot with your blog, content-wise, on a tablet. Work on drafts, schedule posts, and upload images using tablet-specific apps for WordPress. Dragon Anywhere is awesome for dictating blog posts on the go.
Use Your Productivity and Organization Apps
A lot of the best productivity and organization sites have tablet apps that make it easy to use them when you're away from the computer. You can sync your tablet account with your phone and computer to make everything accessible and easy to keep track of. Trello, Evernote, Basecamp, Asana, and countless others have tablet-specific apps that go with you wherever your tablet goes.
One of my all-time favorite things to do with my tablet is online coursework. The video is crystal-clear, and it's just so easy to carry my tablet around wherever I'm going. I can pop in my headphones if I need to, and get really comfortable wherever I feel like watching instead of being stuck in a chair for however long the course module will be. This is how I watch almost all of my videos now.
There's no limit to what you can do with the good old-fashioned browser. Start researching for your next writing assignment or blog post. Catch up on what's going on with your favorite bloggers. Apply for gigs on a job board. Look for inspirational images to get your creative juices flowing. If you can do it while tinkering around on your main computer, you can probably do it on your tablet, too. To make it even easier, use the Pocket app to bookmark things on your smartphone, tablet, and computer and revisit them whenever you have time — on whatever device you're using in that moment.
Smart Device-Specific Gigs
There are a few work-at-home opportunities that prefer you work on a smartphone or tablet. Or, maybe it just doesn't matter.
- mTurk – crowdsourcing small tasks
- Field Agent – mystery shopping and local tasks
- GigWalk – mystery shopping and local tasks
- Humanatic – listening to prerecorded phone calls
- InteliChek – occasionally hires for mystery shopping gigs that can be done on a tablet
There's An App for That
No matter what you're doing or what program you're using, these days there's a good chance you can find a tablet-friendly version. In the past, I've used the tablet apps for email providers, survey tools (like Survey Monkey), contract and electronic signatures (like DocuSign), and video conferencing (like Zoom and Skype). With tablets being around a while, most software companies are accommodating them just as much as they are smartphones.
Accessories That Optimize Your Tablet
When you want to get serious about working from home on your tablet, there are some accessories that can make it even easier to get your work done. First and foremost, I always recommend some kind of protective case to keep your tablet safe in case you drop it. They're a big investment for your business, so it makes sense to protect them.
A lot of people aren't crazy about doing lots of typing on a touchscreen, so there are all kinds of keyboard options. Most of them connect to your tablet and have an attached stand, so your tablet almost becomes a mini-laptop. Sometimes these can even be built into the protective case.
And of course, you can't forget about portable wifi. It's entirely likely that you'll use your tablet while multitasking in the kitchen, but tablets are so portable that you'll want to take them wherever you go.
Not everything you do on your tablet will require live Internet access, but if you do need Internet access, the safest and best thing to do is bring along your own portable wifi. Enabling a data plan on your device is convenient, but it's also the most expensive way to go. Look for portable wifi products (called MiFi or hotspots) to find the right option for you. Verizon's MiFi is an absolute must for work-at-homers on the go. It offers great coverage nationwide for frequent travelers and it's secure. You can't be too trusting of public wifi.