Booked a sailing charter for the summer with the family, but still got to check in with the office? Although many take vacation time as a chance to unplug completely, it’s not possible for everyone. The growing trend to being location independent means that working remotely has never been easier – even if you are on a boat, even if you are really remote in the true sense of the word. Here are some things to consider to make sure you can combine work and play smoothly on your sailing holiday.
Our top tip is to reduce the amount of work you may have on vacation by planning ahead and getting things done before you go. Make sure that you meet all deadlines. Your client or boss doesn’t care if you had engine trouble on the Adriatic or mooring problems in the Aegean. Also, dedicating a certain block of time every day for work stuff will keep you organized and make sure you don’t miss out on the activities and family fun. Managing the expectation of your travelling companions is also key. The rest of the crew will get used to your routine and adjust easily if you set this up right at the start. Equally, managing the expectations of your clients and work colleagues is also essential. Letting them know that you will be semi–available and should only be contacted for important issues. Your sailing itinerary should also be planned accordingly, so that on days you are really in need of connectivity, you will be somewhere where it’s guaranteed.
Have the right equipment
Having the correct equipment is vital and investing in it could make all the difference. Luckily, these days there are plenty of gadgets that make life more convenient and make the possibility of working while on a sailing holiday a reality. The more gear you have, the easier it is to stay online and get to work on that spreadsheet. Your must-haves are a powerful, fast laptop, noise cancelling headphones for conference or client calls, AC and DC chargers, extra batteries for laptop and phone and waterproof mobile phone casing – you can take some great underwater photos too, once the work is done!
The bigger your charter boat, the more space you will have to make your temporary office. The dining room table inside should do, but it should be easy to pack up your mobile office and stow it away for the day’s sailing.
Stay connected and sail away. The backbone and bane of every remote worker is internet availability, whether through Wi-Fi or Data. Internet needs are different for everybody depending on the nature of your work. With a few provisions, you can always be connected. If you are chartering a boat in Mediterranean countries like Croatia, Greece and Italy, chances are the Wi-Fi will be pretty good, although they lag behind the rest of Europe. It is hard to determine Wi-Fi quality from one place to the next. Most marinas in Greece and Croatia offer Wi-Fi, but it is difficult to deliver a good Wi-Fi service and the quality of connectivity varies. Some charter boats provide 3G Wi-Fi onboard, so check with your charter company when you book your boat. Since roaming is free in Europe, data costs will be the same as if you were at home, but the signal can get weak the further out to sea you are.
Back up internet is essential, especially if you want to sail out to more remote areas. You could use your phone as a hotspot; invest in a Wi-Fi booster for better Wi-Fi in port and a cell booster to boost the Cellular signal.
If you are in port for a day or two and really need to crack on with it, you might be able to find a suitable co–working space. Co- working spaces are popping up everywhere to cater for the increasing amount of people who work on the move and in the bigger port towns and cities; you should find them with a quick online search. Leave the family to explore medieval towns, nature parks and ports, while you get on with it. Alternatively, libraries are often an excellent place to work in peace.
Never underestimate the potential for networking opportunities on a sailing holiday. Getting to know your fellow sailing enthusiasts could pave the way for new collaborations, business partnerships and sales. Everyone is usually more relaxed and open when on holiday. Making personal and professional connections while on holiday is fun and could lead to something fruitful once you are back home.
Lastly, remember that taking time off is often the best way to serve you clients and company. It is well-known that hyper-focusing is not the best state for your brain to create and come up with ideas and alternatives. Vacationing on a boat outdoors under the sun may be the perfect catalyst for a flow of ideas that could take you to the next level professionally. Don’t forget to unplug sometimes and enjoy the moment beneath the sails.
By Merryn Wainwright