With many offices shut down, people desperate for privacy are working from their cars.
I know someone who drives to the coast every morning to start the day with a view. And the New York Times recently wrote about people camping out in parking lots to snag free WiFi.
“If you work from home, everyone is looking for some space and isolation,” Adam Tacey, a Nissan vehicle engineer, told Mashable. “Your vehicle offers a good bubble.”
Here are a few tips on how turn your car into your own personal office.
How to connect WiFi in your car
If you have a strong WiFi network that reaches your driveway or garage, you’re set. Otherwise, head to a WiFi zone near a library or other public space, or prepare to tether to your laptop to your smartphone or a mobile hotspot.
Mashable’s sister publication PCMag has a list of hotspot devices, which start at around $100, not including data plans. Download speeds on a hotspot are usually around 65 Mbps, much faster than tethering to your phone, which is about 128 Kbps, according to Wirecutter.
Some cars come with their own built-in WiFi hotspots. Tesla recently added a WiFi data plan for $10 per month, which buyers can add to their bill anytime.
Nissan’s AT&T connected car plan is $20 per month, and can be added even if you didn’t opt in initially (just don’t be upset if your older car isn’t compatible). For Ford vehicles, you get a free three-month trial before a subscription plan kicks in. General Motors works with OnStar to provide unlimited data hotspots that start at $40 a month.
If you’re looking for hotspots to turn your car into a work station, here are some options:
How to plug in
But then there’s the issue of staying charged. If your car doesn’t have a USB port, there are inexpensive converters that can turn cigarette lighters into charging ports.
Some portable chargers to consider:
How to get comfy working from your car
If you get cramped and uncomfortable while driving for a long time, don’t expect working in your car to feel much better. If you need extra cushioning, consider a lumbar support add-on for the driver seat for about $20 to $50.
For a makeshift workspace, push the steering wheel and seat back, and find a board to serve as a desk. Cushioned lap desks like this might work, or you could try mounts specifically made for cars, which attach to the steering wheel or passenger seat. You can find them for around $20.
If you’re used to a standing desk or just need to switch it up, consider working from the truck bed or trunk of a larger car like a SUV.
For a full desk experience in the front (and passenger) seat:
How to find some peace and quiet
This is where electric vehicles have the upper hand. They’re super quiet, and without an internal combustion engine, they can run in a garage since there are no tailpipe emissions.
Nissan’s Tacey explained how cars are designed to isolate drivers from noise. Even the windows are acoustically designed to dampen sounds. So now you can use that to your advantage — just be sure to keep the window open a crack.