Not remotely in control!
I have taken the plunge and bought a camper van. Surely there is nothing that can't be done from a remote location…
My first attempt was a mixed blessing, a great holiday full of irritating work interruptions.
Let me tell you about my first trip to manage the business from the beachside, wherever my wandering soul takes me. Filled with the spirit of adventure I book my ticket (on the World's most expensive ferry) to the Isle of Wight. Nervous that I be able to return, should the business demand it, without much difficulty. The camping side is great, the van well equipped and, as an ex-emergency vehicle, well hidden in plain sight for stealth camping should the need arise. The problems start when I crack open my trusty laptop only to find it incapable of accessing any wifi. This is not due to lack of wifi or phone hotspot, rather the ancient nature of the laptop and it's lack of reliability. Never mind! Surely such things as managing a booking system and logging into the bank are possible by phone. Yes they are, should your phone have the capacity and the apps, and the logins ready. I guess I was ill-prepared for the technological challenges of the trip but most things could wait until I got home, this time.
It was useful to identify the areas of my business that I still take sole charge of, rather than leaving them to Magdalena. I successfully fielded guest management during stays, payments and financial matters, calls to associates and professionals. I sorted out repairs using my handyman and managed to keep everyone happy. The business did not collapse during my absence so perhaps I am dispensable after all.
The less successful parts of the experiment were the filing and sorting in the office, accounts and daily admin. My office runs along traditional lines. I print invoices, keep files and have regular coffee breaks. Magda is less keen on opening my post or using my bank accounts so a few items were delayed. An upcoming property sale was dealt with by handing Power of Attorney for the documents to my Solicitor. Of course, online security can be an issue as well so I had to make sure that a greater number of digital items were protected. The coffee breaks will stay I imagine although the casual conversations that happen in the office at these time are valuable for taking the temperature of the business and prioritising tasks as the day progresses. A happy team work well and I had to find the time for small talk along the way. Working in a small team means that you all know each other's mood and business. To do this formally with lists etc. seems like over-kill for my little business.
On the next trip I will be armed with a nice new laptop so will keep digital space for my invoices and receipts. This will give me the much-needed second screen to compare information from my phone to systems on a larger screen. A booking system for 15 properties does not translate well on a 6'' screen. The long spells of leisure are ideal for tackling spreadsheets and doing accounts but these will need lining up ready to go with the resources available away from home. Maybe updating my reading glasses too to help with this very positive shift to a different working model.