Telecommuting Tools The benefits of telecommuting are significant, and many companies are now offering work from home options. The equipment and software you use to work from home vary according to your needs and preferences. This article provides tips and advice on the tools you may need. 1. Choose a computer With so many choices, deciding what computer(s) to buy can be intimidating. Will you need a laptop that you can easily travel with? How will you prioritize your requirements – by price, size, power, or speed? Talk with your friends, colleagues, and your trusted computer guru to see what they recommend. 2. Connect to the Internet You will need Internet access via a connection that is reliable and provides the speed you need at a rate you are willing to pay. You can use a DSL connection through your phone company, a broadband connection for high speed Internet through your cable company, or even a satellite connection. You will also need an Internet Service Provider, which will most likely be the same company you choose for your connection. 3. Set up a network If you use multiple computers in your home, you will probably want to set up a home network so that as you work online, you can have access to the same files wherever you are. You’ll need to make some initial decisions, including whether you want to set up a virtual private network or remote desktop connection to access company files. A virtual private network creates a secure connection, called a tunnel, between your computer and your server. A remote desktop connection is a technology built into Windows that allows you to sit at computer and connect to a remote computer in a different location. 4. Communicating with your colleagues You will have to work hard to keep in contact with your co-workers. However, new technology has made it easier to keep in touch, you just need to have good communication skills. Your phone should be the first line of communication you set up. Make sure the people who need your number have it. Use call forwarding to get all of your office calls sent to your home or cell phone. An Instant Messaging (IM) program allows you to have quick impromptu chats with one or more of your colleagues in real time via the Internet. This service also allows you to notify your IM contacts of your availability to chat, so they know when to expect delays in your response. Working from home is a great way to avoid the morning hustle and bustle, and with the right equipment you can be just as productive working from home as working at the office. If you have any questions regarding setting up a home office or would like to find out more about any of the products or services discussed in this article feel free to contact me at 260.423.2414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.