A Workplace on Wheels: When Your Van Is Also Your Office

For some companies, mobile working is a perk. For others, it’s a way of life. Business is changing as more workers will be needing to be dispatched remotely and not come into the office every day. Having a vehicle that can carry not only all of your inventory and supplies but also keeps you connected on the business side is more important than ever.

Contractors, field technicians, maintenance workers, oil and gas professionals, electricians, plumbers, white-label shipping fleets, mobile health care workers and mobile office vans are just a few examples of professional undertakings that involve doing business on the go. While they may not have a traditional office setup, they still need many of the same amenities you might find in a corporate setting: phones, computers, tablets, internet, desks, etc. 

But furnishing an office is more complicated when you work out of a van. Everything needs to be carefully and ergonomically laid out to maximize space and keep you comfortable. If, say, you need to do work on your computer before traveling to the next job site, you should be able to without having to scrunch up in the driver’s seat with a laptop connected to an unreliable hot spot. 

Unfortunately, professionals working out of office vans are woefully underserved. Many of them wouldn’t even know where to start looking for the equipment they need for their workplace on wheels. 

If you can relate to that sentiment, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s look at some of the core amenities and supplies that improve the working experience for professionals on the go. 

Internet and Radio Connectivity 

It’s difficult to think of an industry that hasn’t been changed, or at least influenced, by digital resources. Construction companies, third-party logistics, field technicians and other on-the-go operators need internet-connected smartphones and laptops just as badly as anyone else. 

However, vans do not typically come with preinstalled wireless-connectivity infrastructure. This can be problematic in cellular dead zones, or in situations where there just isn’t enough bandwidth to support your needs.

Fortunately, this is a relatively easy fix. You can install a cellular booster that will improve your connectivity even in areas with weak signal, or you can buy a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. If you rely on two-way radio networks, you can just as easily implement a repeater.

A word to the wise, though: When it comes to matters of connectivity, make sure you’re getting your equipment from reputable vendors. And if you’re not sure where to start looking, we’re happy to help.

Rugged Devices

Most laptops, tablets and smartphones are designed for consumers, or for business users in a typical office setting. They aren’t meant to withstand vibrations, extreme temperature fluctuations, drops, dusty environments, cold weather (ever notice how your phone dies quickly in freezing temperatures?) or exposure to moisture.

A foreman on a construction site, or an engineer working in energy exploration, needs equipment that can brave the conditions outside the office van – or inside it, for that matter, especially on hot, humid or frigidly cold days. 

To minimize spending on repairing or replacing sensitive electronics, we would highly recommend investing in rugged devices. It isn’t absolutely necessary, but heavy-duty electronics can save you a lot of money in the long run by withstanding prolonged exposure to conditions that most computers can’t.

Desk Space

It’s easy to take a stable surface for granted – that is, until you’ve tried working on a computer for prolonged periods of time from the front seat of a car.

There’s more than one way to incorporate desk space into a vehicle. If you have a spacious cab, you can cordon off a portion of it to install a table top and even put in a small office chair. Not just any old surface will do, however, as you need to make sure the installation can securely lock into the vehicle.     

But more often than not, technicians, delivery drivers and construction workers need as much of the space in their cab as possible. That’s why a slightly more common method is to use either a dash mount, or to install a collapsible desk between the driver’s seat and passenger’s seat. To avoid having to make substantial modifications, however, you need a strong understanding of what’s possible based on the products that are out there and your vehicle’s specifications.

Ergonomic Storage

Electricians, plumbers, exterminators and cable technicians know all too well that things get lost and damaged – or worse, become hazards – in a poorly organized cab. As such, they need shelving and cabinets to help keep their equipment locked in but still accessible and neatly arranged.

Whether it’s filing cabinets for technical manuals, or cubbies for wiring spools, make sure that tools you use on the job are well organized and safely stored. 

Need Guidance? We Can Help!

The pickings are slim for office-van amenities and supplies, and it may not always be evident which vendors are trustworthy, which products will actually be compatible with your vehicle or which IT equipment is best for your mobile computing needs.

At Day Wireless, we know. We’ve had fleets in operation for years, and for many of our technicians, those vans are their office. From selecting ergonomic desks through trustworthy vendors, to installing cellular boosters, purchasing rugged computers, setting up two-way radios and everything in between, our office-van experts know how to make a workplace on wheels.

Just let us know what you need, and we can help you find it and install it.   

Add Comment