Gift Ideas for Road Warriors

Road warriors are a new breed of workers who can work from anywhere and still deliver maximum work quality. If you’re building a company of mobile workers, or are thinking of shifting to a mobile environment, investing in these road warrior tools can help keep you productive.

Ten years ago, the typical employee would be sitting in a cubicle, a computer on her desk, post-its littering the table. Today, business is done a little differently: we do away with the cubes and let our people work wherever they want, even from across the globe. These “road warriors” are able to work anywhere and deliver the same quality of work, saving you overhead costs and giving you a lot more flexibility with your time.

Of course, a company of road warriors needs a fair bit of maintenance. You have to make sure your workers have everything they need to deliver. Here are some essentials that will keep your team in top form.

Laptop. A decent laptop is the road warrior’s main tool of trade. This is typically where all the work gets done, so it’s important to invest in quality and performance. The best laptop for mobile workers is the thin-and-light—small enough to lug around, but sturdy enough to withstand the abuses of travel. Consider what applications you’ll need to provide: do you need any specialized software or peripherals? Will they need wireless access? If there are some features you can do away with, see if you can trade them in for more useful functionalities.

GPS receiver. You don’t want your workers getting lost in unfamiliar cities—not only do they waste hours finding their way, you’ll also be accountable for any scrapes they get into. Keep tabs on everyone by equipping them with GPS receivers, which give you the exact location of every holder. This is especially useful if you regularly send people overseas, where they’ll normally be harder to reach. With a GPS receiver, you can be anywhere and still get your whole team together.

PDA. Staying organized on the go is harder than it sounds. Travel schedules have to compete with appointments, deadlines, meetings, and other activities for your time. And if you’re not used to it, you’ll end up doing poorly on one or more of your commitments. That’s why every road warrior needs a PDA, the 21st century version of the paper planner. With a PDA, you can keep schedules, set alarms for deadlines, send email, and write reports—even on a moving train.

Laptop add-ons. Portability is important, but if there’s a way to make mobile computing more comfortable, why not go for it? Every laptop user could benefit from an ergonomic mouse, a cooling pad, or a gel-filled wrist cushion. A stylish laptop bag can hold not only the computer, but also important documents and peripheral devices. For frequent fliers, security devices will come in extremely handy—try investing in locking cables, motion sensor alarms, or a heavy steel cage.

Vehicle mounts. Cool gadgets are no use for a road warrior if he can’t take them on the road. If you’ve equipped them with PDAs and GPS trackers, make sure they’re truly portable by providing compatible vehicle mounts as well. Vehicle mounts don’t just work for handheld devices; there are also laptop mounts available for several models. Ultraportables lend themselves very well to mounting, allowing various viewing angles and excellent connectivity. With a good vehicle mount, you can maximize your travel time and get more done in a day.

Spare batteries/charging dock. Battery life is every road warrior’s biggest enemy. No one likes getting their work cut off by that annoying low-batt beep, especially if they’re miles away from the nearest charging station. A set of spare batteries can eliminate this problem, but if you’re feeling particularly generous, throw in a mobile charger as well. Not only will this keep them going for longer, it also helps prolong battery life since each pack only works half the time.