Working remotely from home: The ultimate dream for office workers. Before you ask your boss for this perk of all perks, get the tools to turn your home into your office away from office. Here are some of the best work-from-home tools, so you can ease your boss’s concerns, and ensure a connected, productive work day from home:
1. Remote PC control
One of the most useful tools when working from home is a remote PC connection software. There’s a lot of freeware out there, but you’ll want to make sure you’re using one that offers secure connections. Many programs require approval from the PC that’s being controlled, so you’ll want to opt for one that allows you to approve control of your office PC ahead of time. LogMeIn and GoToMyPC are two great ones to check out.
2. VoIP phone
The great thing about a VoIP phone is that you can take it from your office, plug it into your home internet connection, and keep all your settings the same. You’ll be able to call other extensions in the office with the same ease, and call your customers with the same caller ID appearing. Who says everyone needs to know you’re working from home, anyways?
3. Conference phone
If you want to work from home and be “kind of a big deal”, have one of Polycom’s latest conference phones installed at your home. Turn your home office into a hands-free conference room, with crystal clear sound coming in, and such sensitive pick up that you can be speaking from 10 feet away, without projecting your voice, and still be heard perfectly. (The Polycom SoundPoint IP 331 is the Cadillac of star phones).
Microsoft’s cloud computing is all about allowing a fluid work flow for a team working from different locations. Skip the incessant back-and-forth phone calls and status updates on that big report your team is working on, and employ the power of cloud computing. Everyone can update the same document in real time, leaving notes along the way. (For the cash-strapped start-up, Google Docs is a free (albeit less powerful) cloud computing option. All you need is a Gmail account to use their web-based word, spreadsheet, presentation, form, and drawing docs.)
5. Instant Messenger
IM has been around for a long while, so its practicality in today’s office work can often go overlooked. But besides being able to instantly chat, working from home gets better for everyone with status updates. Working from more than one location, it helps to know when a co-worker has stepped away from their desk and when they’ve returned, without having to pick up the phone.