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Working from Home? Here Are the Tools You Need

Working from home is not at all like working from a corporate office. Though you might do the same work and get the same pay, it is an entirely different experience. To accommodate the difference in experience, you will need some specialized tools for the job, whatever that job happens to be. Here are some of the challenges inherent to home work:
  • Distractions caused by family and household chores
  • The need for dedicated equipment and work space
  • The lack of accountability
  • Limited access to coworkers and supervisors
  • The need for a professional space to meet clients
While most of these challenges are universal, some work-from-home jobs bring their own set of unique challenges. There are many ways to work from home. The pay can range from excellent to miserable. The highest paid skills by the hour include patent law, voice acting, and Ruby programing. There is also medical billing and coding, transcription, freelance writing, and customer service. There is clearly a broad range of jobs you can do from the relative comfort of your own home. Here are a few things you will need to do them successfully:

Professional Communications Technology

The traditional way to do a job like customer service is to go to an office, clock in, and take your place in a call center. You sit in a chair, log into a computer, and put on a headset freshly vacated by someone else who probably has a cold. Don’t forget the hand sanitizer.

While you are focusing on your miserable working conditions, you may not realize how expensive all that equipment is that you take for granted. Try duplicating it at home, and you will soon develop an appreciation for what your employer went through to hire you in the first place.

That crappy phone you use cost your employer at least $200. The long distance bill is through the roof. And professional perks like hold music and call transfer are extra. Instead of investing in all that expensive equipment and add ons from a traditional phone company, why not try set up a phone system using voice over Internet protocol. The pros of switching to a VoIP system include the following:

Call logs, call reports, unified messaging, message on hold, desktop integration, online fax, ring groups, Visual Dial Plan Editor, Intercom, auto attendants, voicemail, caller ID, music on hold, call routing, virtual extensions, dial-by-name directory, call forwarding, call recording, call queues, find-me follow-me, speed dial, custom schedules, remote access, LDAP Integration, call transfers, online PBX controls and more. Additionally, these features are offered in a user-friendly online format.
You can do call center work from home. You just need the right communications tech to pull it off.

A Dedicated Work Computer

There are lots of good reasons to have a dedicated work computer, especially if you work from home. Here are a few of those reasons in no particular order:
  • Tech Support - You don’t have an IT department at home keeping your work computer up and running. Therefore, you can’t afford to be running Flash, Java, and other unnecessary things on your work computer as you do on your personal computer. With your work computer, downtime is not an option.
  • Security - Your personal computer is likely full of viruses, adware, and malware that you picked up from Facebook, email attachments, and questionable browsing habits. That renders everything on your computer vulnerable to hackers. By having a computer devoted only to work, it will be more secure by default.
  • Focus - Your personal computer is full of things that steal away your productivity. You need a computer that can only access work, nothing more.

Backups

If only for legal purposes, everything you do at the office is automatically backed up, including email and documents. Your legal obligations do not end at the corporate office, depending on what you do, you have the same obligation to keep backups, even if you work from home. This is in addition to the obvious benefit of being able to get back up and running if your equipment fails you.
Working from home is much like working from an office that is not fully equipped. Be sure you are equipped properly with professional communications tech, a dedicated computer, and a five-year backup solution.

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