Today, working at home is common. Approximately one in five employed Americans works at home at least occasionally.
According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, about 3.3 million Americans work primarily out of a home-based office. That’s an 80% increase since 2005.If you’re working out of a home office, you probably don’t need to be told that you need a computer, an Internet connection, a printer, and assorted business software. (And, if you’re like me, an enormous stack of scratch paper to take notes and write down ideas.) But there are some things that any work-from-home business shouldn’t be without. In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of these often-underestimated items.
Working at Home? Don’t Forget the…
One of the great things about working at home is the flexibility. There’s a better chance of achieving a workable balance between your professional life and your personal life. The problem with working at home is that you sometimes forget you are actually working.
It’s all too easy to relax and let seemingly insignificant things slide.Sometimes, in the interest of saving money, telecommuters and other home-based workers may skimp on seemingly nonessential technology. Here are a few things that you should really try to work into your budget:
- A file backup system. It doesn’t have to be fancy. If you like, you can subscribe to an online backup system. Sometimes this comes as part of another service, like your email or a comprehensive Internet security package. You can find a few gigabytes for free with other providers, or pay for more extensive storage. It all depends on the level of space and the amount of security that you feel comfortable with, or that’s required in your line of work.
You’re not obligated to use the cloud as your backup system. Lest we forget, there is such a thing as onsite backup. This could be an external hard drive, a second computer, even a capacious USB drive.
The important thing is to regularly backup your files, whether they’re on the cloud or stored in another device. Cloud services do have one benefit; you may be able to sync them with your computer so that all changes are automatically backed up.
- A reliable phone system. For a while, I tried to run my business using my mobile phone. It didn’t really work. Reception was spotty, and conversations were needlessly muddled. For me, it made sense to go back to having a landline just so that I could be sure to have a quality phone connection. If you have reliable cell service in your area, great! If not, consider an alternative: either a landline or an Internet-based service like Skype. While customers and business partners are usually understanding about call quality issues, do you really want to take a chance on missing an important part of the conversation?
- A mobile device. Doesn’t have to be the newest, sleekest, or have the most bells and whistles. If you travel a lot, you’ll appreciate the convenience of having a small, light, Internet-ready device so you can keep in contact with your business. And carrying a capable tablet or smartphone is way more convenient than lugging around a 17-inch laptop.
What would you include on a must-have list for home-based business technology? What have you found to be nonessential—and what is indispensable?
Leave us a comment below and let us know. Businesses small and large run on technology. If you’re having ongoing technology issues, contact the Managed IT group at Techsperts Services. We’ll be happy to discuss options to make your technology work for you.