Top Tech Tips For Your Home Office

To ensure home working is a success, it is important to put in place the right technology so staff can work efficiently.

Recently Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer banned employees working from home. This decision flies in the face of a substantial amount of research demonstrating the benefits of remote working.

On the other hand, last year, an experiment rolled out by Chinese multinational CTrip, found working from home led to a 13% increase in employee performance. 

Thankfully for you (and us) PC World Business’s managing director, Jeremy Fennell, gives his top five hints and tips to set up your home office to make home working successful no matter who you are, where you are or who you work for (Yahoo included).

Top tech tips for working at home in your home office

 1. Invest In The Right Hardware

Laptops, tablets and smartphones all allow employees to work flexibly and connect with the office. Laptops provide full accessibility and can also act as a fully functioning desktop PC for employees who work remotely. Ultra-mobility laptops, with 11.6 to 13.3 inch screens, are bigger than a netbook and have a large enough screen to comfortably view detailed documents.

Tablets are even more convenient as they are small, lightweight and give instant access to internet and email with wireless and 3G capabilities. They are also useful for presentations, client-meetings and accessing a wide range of apps to help with day-to-day business operations. For example, the MyBizTracker app makes record keeping of income and expenses for small business easier.

Finally, all-in-one printers are also valuable for the home office, allowing employees to print, scan and photocopy from one machine. With different options available, you can choose the one most suited to your budget and printing needs. 

2. Stay Connected To Your Colleagues And Customers

There are several technical solutions that support remote working by allowing employees to participate in calls and conferences even if they are in different locations. Voice over IP (VoIP) technology enables you to make phone calls over the internet and is cheaper than traditional fixed lines. It provides a flexible telephone system which is easily controllable and allows individuals to receive all phone calls on one specific number.

This means home working employees can choose whether their desk, home or mobile phone rings depending on their location at the time. Skype is a free VoIP system where audio and video calls can be conducted over the internet at low or no cost. While Google Hangouts is another effective system for hosting virtual meetings. It includes powerful tools such as screen sharing which allows you to share your screen view with others on the call. 

3. Bring Your IT Department Home With You

Remote IT Management gives a company a full time network of experts who troubleshoot, fix network problems and give advice and assistance either over the telephone or by directly accessing and controlling your computer screen.

Employees can be set up to work remotely meaning although off site, networking services will still be fully functional and support from experts is only a phone call away. 

4. Don’t Spend A Fortune

Cost saving is a key advantage of working from home. You should first establish what business tasks you will be using IT for and how much budget to allocate. Seeking advice will ensure you purchase the right kit and prevent you spending more than necessary.

You can now get free independent advice on the high street from small business tech experts. 

5. Secure Your Data

Many employers are hesitant to let employees work remotely as they feel company data is less secure than it would be in the office. However, there are simple steps you can follow. First, ensure you back up files and set passwords on computers and documents. Second, invest in cloud-based storage which can save home office workers a lot of time and stress while increasing security.

The cloud securely stores everything a business would normally keep on a company server, online, in a central location. Documents and files can be accessed from anywhere including the office, at home or in the local café. KNOWHOW cloud storage is a cheap and flexible way of working and storing your documents in one place. 

Home offices are varied and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. The size, sector, management style and culture of the business are all factors to consider when developing and implementing a home working policy. Before investing in technology for remote working, it is worth seeking specialist IT advice to ensure you are using the correct tools that fulfil your business needs.

Jeremy Fennell is managing director, PC World Business

PC World Business provides IT solutions and free specialist advice for SMEs through its network of over 250 business centres within any PC World store. To find your nearest PC World Business centre, please visit: www.pcworldbusiness.co.uk

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