Women Who: Top Tips for Working on the Move

Women Who: Top Tips for Working on the Move

Otegha Uwagba is the founder of Women Who, a platform for creative working women. Here she gives SUITCASE her top tips for keeping up a business while on the move.

of the main joys of being self-employed is that – provided I
have my laptop, a strong cup of coffee and a speedy wi-fi
connection to hand – I can get my work done from wherever I choose.
Case in point: when I was working on Women Who (the
platform for creative working women I set up in 2016) I impulsively
took a trip to Provence a few days before its launch, safe in the
knowledge that I could get most of what I needed done without
actually needing to be in London, where I’m based. It’s a similar
story with the modern career guide I’ve recently written, Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women, which
I eked out in coffee shops and libraries around the world. And as I
was writing it, I had in mind the many ambitious and
entrepreneurial women I know who – like me – are increasingly drawn
to careers they can make work from (pretty much) any corner of the

So far so good – but it’s important to remember that combining
work and travel does come with its fair share of challenges –
making it work requires a bit of upfront planning if you want to
stay organised (and sane). With that in mind, here are some
practical tips on how to stay productive when you’re on the go.

Get organised

  • First things first – make sure you’ve got a decent data roaming
    plan in place. Without one, you’ll be at the mercy of unreliable
    wi-fi hotspots – or worse, end up being stung with an eye-watering
    bill for the sake of a few emails and tweets. Three’s Feel at Home
    tariff is great for UK-dwellers, whilst T-Mobile provides a
    similarly affordable data plan for US-based frequent flyers.
  • Consider investing in an iPad and keyboard combo instead of
    lugging a heavy laptop around with you for the duration of your
    trip. Downsizing to a tablet can take a little getting used to at
    first, but you’ll quickly realise you can get just as much done as
    you would on a laptop, and lighten your load in the process.
  • Check the small print on your travel insurance to make sure it
    covers any expensive equipment you’ll be taking with you, and that
    the excess on them isn’t ridiculously high. If you’re travelling on
    the company dime you’re (probably) covered anyway, but otherwise
    make sure that loss, theft or accidental damage – all of which are
    far more likely to happen when you’re in transit – don’t end up
    spoiling your trip.

Pack right, pack light

  • Clothing wise, stick to clothes made from fabrics that won’t
    wrinkle easily – so cashmere and wool during the winter, and jersey
    and polyester-blend cottons when the weather warms up. One-pieces
    in particular are your friend when travelling as they mean less
    time spent planning outfits or trying to co-ordinate separates, so
    opt for jumpsuits and dresses if you can.
  • Being smart about your luggage situation can make all the
    difference, so keep things straightforward and stick to the
    following three items: – A suitcase (duh). Opt for a 4-wheeled
    model for maximum ease, ideally in a carry-on size. – A work bag
    for day-to-day use. This should be large enough to carry your
    laptop and notebooks around town, and sturdy enough not to fall
    apart on you mid-trip. – A small pouch (or two) for storing the
    important stuff: passports, travel documents, ear plugs, phone
    chargers – basically anything you’ll repeatedly be reaching for
    whilst en route, and don’t want hidden in the depths of your
  • If you can bear to travel with carry-on luggage only, do so –
    you’ll be glad of it when you’ve just landed and get to skip
    baggage reclaim purgatory, especially if you’re heading straight to
    a meeting. Turning up sweaty and dishevelled because you’ve been
    wrestling a 30kg suitcase from airport to Uber is not a good
  • On that note – if you are getting off a long flight and heading
    straight to work, make sure you pack a toothbrush, mini toothpaste
    and spare top near the top of your hand luggage, so you can freshen
    up quickly before landing.

On location

  • As much as possible, try to maintain some semblance of the
    routine you usually adhere to at home. If (for example) Wednesdays
    are usually your designated day for sorting out your finances, make
    that a priority when you’re away for work too. Sticking to your
    regular routine will make trips away feel much less disruptive, and
    you’ll spend less time scrambling to catch up once you’re back in
    the office.
  • Make use of any communal lobby areas in your hotel to work from
    (or if you’re AirBnb-ing it, find a local coffee spot you can
    decamp to for a few hours). Staying cooped up in your room your
    entire trip can make for a fairly claustrophobic experience, which
    isn’t exactly conducive to productivity – plus, the chance to
    absorb the local atmosphere is one of the perks of getting to
    travel for work, so get outside and soak it up!

What to pack

  • No need to sacrifice form for function, with this sleek but
    sturdy Issey Miyake Bao Bao shoulder
  • You’ll need some reading material to kill time whilst waiting
    around in airports, so use that time effectively with Little Black
    Book: A Toolkit For Working Women, a travel-size career guide.
  • I usually stock up on Glossier’s signature pink pouches
    whenever I’m in the US, but this brightly coloured pouch from
    & Other Stories is also
    great for staying organised while on the go.
  • If you’re going somewhere warm, this navy Mango jumpsuit is smart
    enough to wear to meetings, while its lack of sleeves will stop you
    from overheating.

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