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HP Business Answers: Your office in a backpack

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People in marketing spend more time out of the office than many other professions. These tips from HP Business Answers will help you pack the right hardware and software so you’re ready to work in new places.

The Essentials

No mobile worker should be without some basic gear:

  • A small, light computer like the HP Mini. Its energy efficient Intel processor means it’ll last hours on a single charge. If you need more power, get a full-size notebook instead or a high-powered but ultra-portable HP EliteBook with Intel® Core™ i5 or i7 processors.

  • A smartphone. Trade your five-year-old brick for a smartphone that lets you check email, view websites and even read and edit documents.

  • Power essentials. Although clever power management in Microsoft Windows can extend battery life, it’s wise to take your charger, plus a socket doubler to avoid plug-jostling. Taking an extra battery or choosing a long-life battery for your notebook can keep you going all day. You can use a USB socket in your notebook to charge other accessories like smartphones and cameras; this will keep the number of adaptors to a minimum.

  • A good bag. Choose something that’s well-padded, easy to carry and not too flashy (you don’t want it stolen). You can even go for a smart jacket that includes space to store all your gadgets and music players, such as Scott eVests.

To access the internet, you’ll either need a wireless network or ---to get connected from nearly anywhere---a mobile broadband connection. Some HP notebooks have a slot for a SIM card so you can connect to mobile broadband without any extra equipment or you can buy a plug 3G modem.

The Right Software

To be truly mobile, you need to be able to do real work. Be sure you have the right software:

  • Office applications. Microsoft Office (or if you’re rocking open source, try OpenOffice). You can also consider Google Apps, which has an offline mode if you don’t have a constant network connection, or Microsoft Office Web Apps.

  • Online apps. There are great online apps now that let you run big parts of your business from the web, such as file-sharing tools like Dropbox. HP Notebooks with HP QuickWeb software let you get online in seconds without the usual wait for a boot-up making these applications much easier to access when you need them.


Carefully chosen accessories will add minimal weight to your bag and can make you more productive:

  • Noise-canceling headphones. Loud cafe? Busy train? A good pair of headphones can give you peace and quiet. Getting into the flow is essential for productivity. If you take lots of phone calls, consider a Bluetooth headset too.

  • A mouse and wrist rest. Working on a laptop can be an ergonomic nightmare. Carry a portable mouse and---depending on your laptop---a wrist rest to stave off aches and pains.

  • The right low tech. It’s not all about electronics. Stick a decent notepad and a few pens into your bag. If you tend to scribble notes on scraps of paper, organize them in a zip-up folder.

Matthew Stibbe is Writer-in-chief at Articulate and a contributor to HP’s Business Answers website, blog and Twitter feed. Business Answers is an online resource and community for growing businesses.

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Matthew Stibbe is Writer-in-chief at Articulate ( and a contributor to HP's Business Answers blog ( He also writes about business, technology and marketing at his own blog, Bad Language (

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  • by Patrick Dague Mon Sep 27, 2010 via blog

    Hi, enjoyed your article about working form anywhere. Good points, especially what you said about the essentials, software and accessories needed when working outside of the office. I have subscribed and will be waiting to see more from your blog. Thanks! - Patrick Dague, the "Raising Capital" Coach.

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