Community//

5 tips to get the most out of inflight working

Disconnecting doesn't have to be a disadvantage. Airplane mode might be just what you need...

In today’s hyper-connected world we can feel obliged to respond to every email, message or notification in real time. But sometimes taking a step back is actually positive for productivity. While some jobs simply can’t be done while ‘disconnected’, many can actually benefit from offline periods. 

I take a lot of flights: while I live and work in Spain, my partner and family are based in the UK. I’m lucky that my company supports remote working and gives me flexibility to travel back and forth frequently. I now look forward to my hours of ‘offline working’ from the sky. I am able to focus on one task at a time, without any pings or dings or the sense of guilt that can come from muting those notifications.

Next time you fly, even if there’s Wi-Fi available, resist the temptation and follow these tips to make the most out of your flight hours. 

Prepare

Before you fly make sure you have offline access to all the documents and resources you’ll need. Download email attachments and enable ‘offline editing’ on platforms like Google Drive. Charge your laptop fully and consider bringing extra battery packs. Even if you know you have a seat with a plug. 

Prioritise

Some projects lend themselves more to plane working than others. Select tasks that you are able to complete (or make significant headway on) by yourself. Additionally, pick tasks that don’t need a lot of desk space, or fine motor control.

Find privacy for you…

Wear good headphones to drown out your seatmates, that baby three rows back and the noise of the plane. If you don’t like listening to music as you work, search for white-noise apps to stop announcements from breaking your concentration. If you can, choose your seat beforehand and pick a window seat for minimum disruption and maximum privacy. 

… and privacy for your work

On a plane the people next to you will usually be sitting a lot closer than your colleagues do. Whilst the spotlight effect tells us that we overestimate how much people pay attention to what we’re doing, it’s still important to consider confidentiality. Place a privacy filters over your laptop screen to reduce the viewing angle and be confident that neither your client data nor your ground-breaking screenplay is being spied on. 

Have a backup plan

Flights are subject to weather conditions and unexpected events. You might be asked to put away your table or store your laptop and therefore lose your ability to do work. As always, it pays to have a backup plan, just in case your inflight working experience isn’t all “plane” sailing…

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    tips for being more productive working from home
    Community//

    5 Tips For Being More Productive Working From Home

    by Sapna Delacourt
    Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
    Community//

    How to travel and still be present (in your professional role and responsibilities)

    by Sarah Evans
    Work-life balance
    Community//

    Work-life Balance

    by Tin Mayer

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.