It’s the season for traveling again — are you going to take a computer on your trip? Or, are you going to take a break from the world of email and web? Or, do you plan to find an available computer to use?
Of course, some people travel a lot for business. They know that email has become a critical part of their business world, so they carry their Blackberry or their notebook computer (or both) to stay in touch.
But, most of us travel occasionally for business or pleasure. We may take along our office computer, if it is a notebook, or our home notebook if we have one. However, both of those options solves many of our needs, but not all of them.
If we’re traveling for business, we often have equipment supplied by our employer to help us keep in touch while we’re on a business trip (or when we’re on vacation <grin>.
However, there are several significant things to remember when you’re using an employer-provided notebook computer:
- You’re using the employer’s Internet account, or even their network, to access the Internet;
- your web use may be monitored and logged;
- web sites and site functionality may be blocked, just as if you’re in the office;
- employers often forbid the use of their computer equipment for any other business pursuits.
If we’re traveling for pleasure, or if we don’t have a business notebook computer or a Blackberry, we may carry along a personally-owned notebook computer. Similarly, this can solve some of our needs but not all of them:
- We can stay in touch with the office by checking our email, since many companies have webmail access for their employees’ email accounts;
- since it’s our own, personal notebook computer and our own Internet connection, we can do any other web surfing or emails that we want;
- and, if you’re traveling on business, your employer with your personal computer, you employer is likely to treat your computer as your problem if it’s broken or stolen on the trip.
The other problem with a personal notebook on a business trip is that, depending on your job, you may need access to some files on your office computer — and you won’t have them.
What’s the best solution? In my opinion, it’s an employer-owned notebook that’s your regular office computer. Note that I said the one that’s your regular office computer. I don’t like the loaner solution — the "we’ll let you use one of these loaner models while you’re traveling" notebooks. The problem with the "loaner notebook" is that you still don’t have access to your files.