Living on the road has many rewards and benefits however even if you drive thousands of miles you may not escape the need for money. With this in mind may be a good idea ear to add an office and an internet connection to your campervan. with a huge increase in remote working since the coronavirus pandemic now is a great time to research the options when it comes to kitting out your campervan and take remote working to the next level.
One of the most important decisions to make when it comes to your digital nomad lifestyle – is whether to invest in a vehicle or not. Many choose to travel the world and use aeroplanes and taxis as their main form of transport. However, the alternative is to live on the road. With more and more companies looking to hire remote workers, this could be a great way to take long weekends and explore different areas without the cost of flights. Having a headquarters for your work may also be a better alternative for those with families.
Once you have decided to set up a mobile office, the next big decision is to research what type of vehicle with suit your needs best.
When comparing campervans with recreational vehicles (RVs), an RV is generally larger and as such, more comfortable. Campervans have the advantage of being a great family vehicle; they are small enough to park at supermarkets and stores and are not as expensive to run and to maintain as RVs. Some might describe an RV as a home that can be lived in for months at a time and a campervan as more of a weekend getaway vehicle.
Whichever vehicle you choose, given the limitations in terms of space and the lifestyle that you are seeking, it can often be a good idea to outsource tasks such as telephone answering and admin tasks. With this in mind, it may be worth checking out Moneypenny’s website for telephone answering and Fiverr and/or peopleperhour for admin and/or repetitive task that you may not want to be tied down with!
Office Setup in the Dining Area
One of the most common places to put an office in an RV or campervan is in the dining area. Converting this area provides plenty of space, and enough room to use desktop computers.
The table provides a sturdy and secure desk, but there can be an issue with other office equipment and furniture during transit. Monitors are especially fragile and can easily become damaged. A desk clamp can often work best when it comes to mitigating the risk to the monitors when you are on the move. Using a desk clamp, you can keep monitors secure whilst driving the vehicle and not worry about taking everything down when you wish to drive the van or RV.
Office chairs can be kept secure by creating an attachment point (i.e .a hook) or points on your desk. Simply push the chair under the desk and use a bungee cord to keep the chair in position.
Having a desk with a pull out drawer or tray can be extremely helpful. This is a great place to put a printer when needed, or you can use it just to store some office snacks!
Setup The Office in the Passenger Seat/Area
Rather than use the dining area for the office space, RV owners should have enough space to put all their office equipment in the ‘passenger area’.
A pull out laptop tray, a laptop stand can easily be installed in the passenger area (when the RV or motorhome isn’t in motion!) to create a temporary office space. In the picture below, the owner also built a wooden platform to hold the monitor and laptop above the tray for the wireless keyboard and mouse.
With caution, the laptop alone can be used when the RV is being driven, however, the monitor does need to be packed away. Julie Bennett from RVLove always recommends a set of wireless, Bluetooth headphones which can help you to focus on the work at hand. She also uses a ‘hinged’ wooden storage box, which doubles as a footrest.
Convert the Bunk Area to an Office
If you have an RV that features a bunkhouse for the kids, it is possible to remove the top bunk and convert this area into an office space.
The first stage is to unscrew and slide out the frame for the top bunk. If there are any wires that need to be removed, please remember to disconnect the RV power before removing them.
A typical feature of the bottom-bunk is to have a storage space directly underneath where the mattress would normally go. This is great for your office equipment, but you will need to consider adding additional support to the storage area so that it can take the weight of a chair & someone sitting on it. Adding much thicker wood to the top of the storage space area is an easy way to ensure there is enough support to take the more ‘direct’ weight of a chair. You can make this look and feel extra ‘professional’ by adding vinyl floor tiles to the wood.
If you would look a covering for the window, this can be done easily by purchasing some velcro that allows you to attach blinds, curtains or even a piece of thin wood or cardboard which has been covered in a soft material. This can be a very handy additional item to the office area, as the view outside can be distracting for a number of reasons!
Finally, a great way to separate the office area from the rest of the RV is to install a shower curtain rail and a shower curtain – typically a thicker darker coloured one – which you can pull across to provide privacy and to help you to focus.
Some equipment to research and consider buying would include:
- Desk clamp for monitors
- Wireless keyboard
- Wireless mouse
- Wireless headphones
- Storage box with middle-hinge
Equipment to Make Modifications
Some of the equipment used in the examples outlined above included
- Tape Measure
- Screw Driver & Screws
- Plywood of various sizes
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Velcro with adhesive backing