Using mobile data to work remotely

Using mobile data to work remotely

There are many reasons why working remotely might be necessary.

There could be an office emergency while you’re holidaying in the Highlands, or an important email needing a response while you’re at home recovering from flu.

Travel throws up various obstacles in winter, when roads are frequently gridlocked and public transport is best described as unpredictable.

Fortunately, it may be possible to maintain productivity and professionalism by working remotely.

And while an Ethernet-connected desktop computer is optimal, mobile data keeps you productive through office closures, heavy snowfall, internet outages and transport chaos…


Tethering involves connecting a smartphone to another device, which harnesses the phone’s internet connection.

It’s possible to tether a laptop or tablet to a mobile data source via USB, WiFi or Bluetooth.

The latter is slow and fiddly, and WiFi is also slower than a physical connection – though it’s okay if you don’t have a suitable cable.

We’ve published detailed guides about tethering Android and iOS devices.

In essence, you need to make your handset discoverable and then connect the external device either physically or over WiFi.

This is particularly effective when paired with desktop mirroring – enabling staff to remotely operate office computers over the internet.

C drive documents are suddenly accessible from anywhere, thanks to mobile data.

Smartphone apps

If tethering an external device isn’t an option, tablets and smartphones offer impressive levels of workplace functionality over 4G or WiFi.

There’s little difference in the browser-powered desktop or app-powered mobile versions of platforms like Trello and Slack, other than how much data they display on screen at once.

Push email delivers messages simultaneously to every registered device, while emails written on a phone are often only betrayed by pre-installed “sent from my smartphone” signatures.

Changing these to match your Outlook signature means nobody can tell whether an email was penned on a laptop or a smartphone.

Most home broadband accounts support unlimited bandwidth, and many of the SIM only contracts on our website also provide generous monthly data allowances.

As a result, downloading large attachments or logging into Skype meetings shouldn’t pose many issues – assuming your connection speed is sufficient.

Video conferencing is often an effective substitute if you’re unable to physically attend a meeting, particularly as file sharing tools let virtual attendees view documents digitally.

Wireless data

The UK’s major mobile networks all sell wireless dongles.

These pipe 4G data to either a single device via USB, or multiple devices through self-generating WiFi networks.

If a desktop or laptop still represents your preferred method of working away from the office, and WiFi isn’t available, dongles offer plug-and-play connectivity to the 4G network.

Data is easily used and expensive to replace, so it’s advisable to use these dongles sparingly.

However, in an emergency, they provide a valuable alternative to WiFi networks – or having to battle your way into the office…

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