As the nature of the workplace changes, more and more people are dividing their working time between the office and home. Technology has also evolved, and an impressive range of gadgets helps busy executives maintain contact with their headquarters whilst commuting, at home or abroad.
Nowadays it’s not necessary to have a dedicated home office space, although many people find it’s much easier to focus on work if they are in a quiet study rather than at a table in the family kitchen. It’s also the case that, thanks to cloud computing, private web networks and useful storage gadgets such as memory sticks, the amount of paperwork that has to travel with an individual leaving the office to work from home has been greatly reduced.
The essential item that makes working from home a lot easier is getting the right infrastructure, and that means having the most appropriate home broadband supply. No matter which gadgets are essential to a particular type of workload, the broadband package needs to deliver a fast, reliable connection – plus access to telephone line rental and calls.
Occasional home workers might opt for a restricted usage allowance, which is generally at the more affordable end of the scale. Those people who work from home regularly on the other hand, or who like to catch up on business after office hours, will benefit from a package allowing unlimited downloads.
Wireless home broadband is generally faster and a lot more convenient as apart from plugging in a router in an appropriate position, additional cables are not needed; the same is true of wireless printers. A more compact option than a router is a wireless gateway, which combines several different functions in one, being both wireless access point and router, and often having the added bonus of providing firewall services.
The equipment and the programs that are needed to work from home will vary from person to person – an architect will need certain specialist software for a laptop, for example, and may even prefer a desktop computer with a larger screen for detailed design work. For most people, a laptop with good word processing, spreadsheet and database software will be essential, as will programs designed to streamline communications. These can include email and video-conferencing tools, and online facilities for document exchange, many of which are cloud-based.
In the age of the mobile office, the smartphone is king and enable commuters to check email, download documents and participate in social networking, as well as sending texts and making and receiving calls. The apps available for mobile phones are increasingly sophisticated, and smartphones are becoming more and more essential for busy travellers who want to stay connected.
Tablets are a sort of hybrid between a laptop and a phone; they’re easier to carry about than a laptop and generally have functionality that is equivalent to a smartphone but with a larger, more accessible screen. As tablet’s become more sophisticated and can handle more tasks that they require it might not be too long until many businesses are using them in place of laptops.
This article was produced in association with Sky