Productivity (work) while RVing

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Neal

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For those that work while RVing such as remote work, self-employed, etc. (i.e. not campground host type jobs) how are you finding your productivity while enjoying the open roads? How many hours of productive work a day do you think you can and should be doing? Are you able to focus? How would you measure your productivity?

After my Air Force days I worked on my software business at home for about 6 years. Productivity was mixed. I finally got an office space, was around other people, my productivity improved 2-3 times as well as I enjoyed the separation between home and work. When working "at home" I found myself rolling out of bed landing at the computer to start work, rolling out of the office chain into bed to end work. It is life consuming running your own business, IMHO. Since I've been RVing a good portion of each year, I just moved out of my office space and moved the office home again. As many know, I have a very nice dedicated office setup in my RV. But there are distractions, a lot of distractions. Distraction 1 - dawg! Distraction 2, the desire and expectation to tour each destination and get the most out of it. It is almost like being back to where I was post Air Force working from home, productivity is challenging. There are numerous other reasons for my dilemma but I'm curious how others are being productive on the road but also taking in what RVing has to offer. My objective when getting the RV was to not do away with working, I love what I do and what I've created, but the goal was having new views out the office window. No need to restrict my life between home and an office as quite frankly being single I did not really do the vacation thing. Work is and was my life, RVing has made "work" more challenging.

So that's my story and my questions for others that work, those that are not retired. I'm not sure I ever want to "retire" as I like having hobbies, my software biz and growing RVF is my hobby.

What's your story, how have things changed for the way you work and how are you measuring up?
 

MemoriesByTheMile

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Interesting topic!

I worked from home for more than 8 years before we started our full time RV 6 months ago. We are still newbies to the RV side.

Environment: in the home we had a dedicated office with nice equipment. In the RV I use the dinette with my dual screens as the office area, but do miss the ergo chair and desk configuration.

Technical: internet is something that takes more work and expense to make viable. Trying to not spend more $ on a dual sim router but may have to breakdown and do that. Hoping and waiting that Starlink will be a good option when mobile is available (realize that ANY tree cover is an issue but so far we have not stayed anywhere with tree cover).

Social: my productivity went up when I left the office and worked from home. Way too many distractions for me in the office. At home and in the RV I am able to control my environment more, hence control the distractions. We have 2 dogs and for the most part they leave me alone while I work but also give me a mental break when I need it every couple/few hours. Personality we are more of an introvert, but being introvert doesn’t mean we don’t want friends, just that we like to have a consistent smaller group of friends and RV life is making that challenging for us.

Summary: work productivity is better for me not being in a commercial office. Home office is best but RV office is 2nd best. Working on the friends/social side.
 

MapNerd

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I’d worked from home for a year and a half prior to going full time. Prior to that, I had a bit of flexibility and would work from home a few days per month.

Initially, my productivity was better in a remote set up as I didnt get sucked into endless meetings but when everyone else went remote, suddenly all of the meetings were now online, and I was added to all of them. I think everyone else going remote has had the biggest impact. I need focus time to get into the zone and to not be forced to constantly switch contexts. That was always a challenge in the office. At home is was better as I had a dedicated home office. In the RV it’s been more challenging than home but less so than the office.

noise cancelling over the ear headphones are critical equipment for me. A multi-monitor setup would be nice but would take up too much space so I make do with the laptop on the steering wheel and me in the drivers seat.

also, I’ll still go sit at a Starbucks if the weather is nice or I need to be left completely alone.
 

MemoriesByTheMile

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I identify with much of what Mapnerd said. I worked from home for many years before covid and was more productive at home than the office. Too many distractions in the office for me.
When covid hit, and everyone else went home, it impacted my work schedule and my stress levels went up - meeting invites increased and the time windows started earlier and ended later.
Starting full-time RV late last year was a little challenging but still much better productivity than being in the office. Most challenging aspects of working in the coach are: internet access and physical work space.
For internet we are using the following in this sequence:
1) Sprint MiFi from FMCA
2) Campground WiFi (if available)
3) Verizon hotspot from our 2 phones
Not as stable as what we had back in a sticks and bricks but now know what to expect and when to switch from one source to another. Considering a Pepwave router with a couple sims, but holding off a bit longer.

Physical workspace needs will vary quite a bit. Personally my productivity drops noticeably with a single screen so I work at the dinette with 2 monitors, external keyboard and external mouse. We use a couple folding TV dinner tables in front of the couch throughout the week. But do push the monitors aside for weekends so we can use the dinette when there isn’t a need for the monitors for a couple days.

Cool hearing how others have configured their workspace.
 

MapNerd

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I will say when it comes to distractions at in the rig, they’re almost always a welcome respite from the insanity of the day.

the family knows that if my headphones are on my ears, I am busy. If I have one on and one off (forward or behind my ear), then I am working but they can interrupt me. If the headphones are off, I’m available for anything.

when working away from the office, it’s important to remember that when you were in an office there were always little interruptions- side of desk chit chat, a run for coffee, a trip to the restroom, cafeteria, perhaps an offsite lunch with a few teammates to check out that new taco joint. It’s important to keep doing those things. Let your day get interrupted sporadically. Walk the dog. Go grab a bite, don’t just eat from the fridge all the time. Get up and get out. Just because you are working remotely doesn’t mean you signed up to be chained to your desk and it doesn’t mean you must now be on 24/7/365
 

Neal

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Location
Midlothian, VA
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RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
There is nothing more distracting than a 1-1/2 year old yellow lab that demands 400% of your time! Headphones mean shoe chew toy. Computer means tug of war. Cell phone means bite wrist. Talk on phone means I'm cheating on her, jump on chest, skin suit teeth knawing, pull 8 toys out of the box. Hence why no work on last trip. If only campgrounds had doggy daycare!
 

MapNerd

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2020 Ford F-150
Try treat puzzles. You put a treat in, they have to work to get the treat out.

instead of taking her for a walk, take her for a bike ride. Toby is just one and that, 40 minutes of fetch or an hour at the dog park with other dogs is the only way to tire him out. Throwing sticks in the ponds and lakes also works after a few rounds.

frisbees work well too. You don’t have work as hard to really launch them and make the dog run a long way.

wheb you go out, look for places where your pet can accompany you. Dogs are allowed at Home Depot, Lowes, Hobby Lobby and lots of other places. Most restaurants that have outdoor seating also allow dogs outside, and many have water bowls for them.
 

Scotttkd2

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Following this with interest as my wife (mortgage originator) and myself (tech nerd) are in the process of selling our home and moving into our new to us 2020 Newmar Kountry Star. Wife will work from a fold down desk I am building in the bedroom (she needs a door) and that leaves me free to work from the dinette and maintain the rest of the coach. Both of us will have laptops with an additional monitor on an adjustable arm. I liked the idea of two internet sources so I went with a pep link duo router setup. Our biggest challenge is while I have worked home and remotely for years, my wife is trying this out for the first time. Even with COVID she only spent 2 weeks out of her office working from home. I am hoping the separation will allow her to continue to be productive, but missing the social part of an office environment is going to be her biggest challenge.
 

Jireh Financial

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We have always had an office. The nature of our business and time zones means we need to be available most all the time. We travel with laptops and have stayed up to speed for several years. The biggest challenge seems to be internet signal and keeping private. We do not use public or camp ground services. Nothing worse than being in the middle of a wire or ACH and the signal drop. For us, Verizon seems to have the best coverage. Using our own hot spot with an access code seems to work really well.
Ken
 

lemondrop9344

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Sep 17, 2020
Messages
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Worked full time in sticks & bricks home/office for 12 years prior to going full time in RV December of 2019.
Biggest issue was deciding what PC related equipment I could do with out. We had been planning on going full time for a year or two. Synology NAS to supplement both network at home & now on the RV has been one of my better purchases along with the Peplink CAT-18.
Volume of work is variable which allows me a great deal of flexibility. Meetings, if required, are conducted as clients prefer (phone, Skype, Zoom, etc.). To some degree, I've cut back on the amount of work I am willing to accept.
I have a semi dedicated workspace in the slide out in the bedroom. Just the wife, the standard schnauzer & myself. Not as comfortable to work in as was the home office with multiple monitors & more powerful desktops, but, I am happy.
 

Neal

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Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
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Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Yep, I have a Synology NAS at home and the 218+ in the RV. Great system, wish I knew of these years ago. Learned about it from a fellow developer blog.
 

MemoriesByTheMile

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Mar 8, 2021
Messages
140
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2014
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Yes
Had the synology box in the sticks n bricks, but haven’t used it in the RV.
Used it primarily for 2 purposes; surveillance cameras and photo storage/sharing.
Never used it for NAS. Wondering if I should pull it out but then would need to change our computer configs and retrain ourselves where things are stored.
For those using the NAS, is this a game changer for you? How?
 

Neal

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Joined
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Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Photo/video and primarily drone video storage
 

lemondrop9344

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Sep 17, 2020
Messages
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With regards to NAS usage...... We have one in what we call our HQ location & I have one in the RV. They were acquired primarily for incorporating them into our disaster recovery plan.
Each night all PC's & data is backed up to the NAS at the respective location. After those backups are completed, each NAS is backed up to each other. In addition, the NAS at the HQ location functions as file server.
The backups are incremental & are accomplished via PEPVPN with SpeedFusion & are scheduled to run during the middle of the night . After the initial backup, data consumption on my cellular plan is minimal and is very quick.
I have an ICYDOCK USB cabinet where I store my my photos & music (backed up to NAS). Movies are stored on NAS an accessed via Plex.
The NAS to NAS backups required some assistance in setting it up from the Peplink forum.
The Synology NAS has been one of the most useful pieces of equipment we have acquired.
 
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