Double Duty Your RV!
By: Boondocking Beauty
One of the hardest parts of owning an RV is the amount of time it spends sitting in your driveway unused. If you're like us and only camp during the nicer parts of the year that means it sits for a good part of the year. All lonely and unused. It just looks so sad.
One of the highlights of the last four months is the discovery of making your RV perform double duty! When the call to have as many employees work from home went out people across the country had to clear dinning room tables or confiscate homework stations! Since I already work from home it hadn't occurred to me what others would have to do in order to adapt and continue working. I was surprised one day when I spoke to a friend and she said she was working out of her camper! What an awesome idea! Her husband had recently installed a plug in their garage that would allow them to plug in when they were winterizing for storage or prepping for trips so when they told her to work from home she looked around and started thinking.
Their dinning room table was already being used as a school room for their two kids since they were being asked to attend online classes and there was no space for a home office. Then it hit her! THEIR CAMPER! It had been sitting in their driveway for months because of the winter season and the virus. She talked to her husband and they both agreed that it was an awesome solution. She could get up, get dressed, and still "go to work". The first day was a bit chaotic as it was spent basically as a trial an error day. Here are some issues she encountered and what she did to build her new, albeit temporary, workspace!
- Set her laptop up on the dinette. After the first day she realized several things:
- Her wifi signal was too weak once she was in her camper.
Solution? She researched and bought a booster to extend her home wifi reach.
- The dinette may work for the occasional meal but is no way made for sitting and working all day!
Solution? She turned her laptop to the end of the table and "borrowed" her sons gaming chair! (Her tush is thanking her!)
- When the air conditioner runs it's loud and the background noise makes it hard for her to hear and be heard during phone calls and meetings.
Solution? She runs the a/c when she's not in a meeting or on the phone. She looks at her schedule each morning and determines when she can run the air conditioner to get the camper nice and cold. Before meetings and/or calls she turns off the a/c and runs a small fan to help circulate the cooler air.
- Created a defined work schedule.
She admitted that the first few days were hard because she realized that she had to set her own structure. It was nice to be able to sleep a little longer, but she noticed she would get busy doing household things while everyone was sleeping and lose track of time because she wasn't focused on getting dressed and getting out the door! She decided to continue to get up, get dressed, "go in" and "leave" at her normal time, and take her usual 30 minute lunch break. This helps her switch into, and stay, work mode.
- Loaded the fridge with snacks, drinks, and lunch stuff.
As we got into our discussion, my friend sheepishly admitted this was the fun part as she hasn't ever had a large variety of snacks and such just for her in years (thanks kids)! She shopped with herself in mind and bought water, chips, various fruit and nuts, as well as a couple microwave meals, wheat bread, peanut butter, and jelly...all of her favorite things! Just for her! She stocked the camper with plastic ware, paper plates and towels.
- Locks the door behind her each day when she "clocks out".
It's easy to get wrapped up in work and lose track of time. When working from home it's even easier to sneak a few minutes after dinner or on a weekend when a project is coming due and you feel the pressure. My friend admitted that the week or two she worked from their home dinning room table this happened and it became more frequent which caused her additional stress. She wasn't practicing a good work, family, life balance and one of the things her and her husband agreed upon was that at the end of each day she would lock the camper and leave the work behind, just like she would when leaving the actual office. Since she started working from her camper she admits it has been a lot easier to lock it and forget it.
After talking to my friend, I did a little research myself. There are many people who have started working out of their RV instead of using their home dining room tables or couches. One couple I found with a toy-hauler (an RV with a garage that is made for carrying four-wheelers or motorcycles) threw a rug down, added a desk, and they work from there instead of their RV dinette! Another suggestion I came across (and LOVE) was to actually travel as camp grounds begin to open. This opens up so many options for unique work environments! Sitting outside at a picnic table or on the shore of a lake or beach to work, taking a walk or hike when a break is needed, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the beauty around you...all would help relieve some of the every day work stress we all tend to feel.
Just remember if you're traveling, make sure you have a reliable internet connection. Some campgrounds offer free wifi but remember these are usually not secure connections and depending on your job, this might make a difference. If you need a more secure connection or you just prefer to have your own connection to make sure it's reliable as well, some campers now come with built in mobile satellite systems that you can set up, subscribe, and connect to. If your RV is older and you do not have this option you can invest in one and install it yourself; however, while they are dependable they can be pricey.
I don't get to work out of an RV but I will say HAVE FUN! and remember that through it all you're working to live, not living to work!