Have you been dreaming of becoming one of those lucky people who no longer commute to work? If your dream is about to become a reality, you will need the ultimate home office. Take our quiz and learn everything you will need to get started on the road to telecommuting.
Working from home can offer you freedom and flexibility, but you will need to set some ground rules and organize both your work hours and your work space if you are to succeed.
In order to claim a home-office deduction on your taxes, you have to set aside a separate space for your office. A separate space is a good idea to help minimize distractions, as well.
When setting up a new home office, invest in the proper office equipment -- file cabinets, file folders, labels, etc. -- and work out a system for using them.
If you have control over your work schedule, try to schedule your work hours so they suit your own high productivity cycles when you work at your best.
Set clear times for eating, exercising and breaks, but if you want to get any work done, it's best to ban surfing the Web from your work computer.
To combat the social isolation inherent in working at home, be sure to schedule some interactions with other people into your day. Meet a friend for coffee or join a local health club.
A docking station remains permanently hooked up to your keyboard, mouse, printer, fax machine, scanner and other peripherals. You plug your laptop into the docking station and you're ready to go; there's no need to plug in a bunch of wires every time you return to your office.
For top quality, fast and inexpensive black and white document printing, choose a laser printer.
If you need good quality text, color charts or photos at a reasonable cost, choose a good inkjet printer. A color laser printer will get the job done also, but costs a lot more.
If you don't have a fax machine, you can make use of an online faxing service such as E-Fax to send your documents.
You might want to consider a removable media storage device such as the Zip™ drive by Iomega™ for your home office. Data is written to the disk just like it would be to a floppy diskette, but the Zip™ drive can store up to 250 Mb of data.
A DSL modem uses your phone line but does not tie up your line, while a cable modem uses the same cable as your cable television. DSL and cable modems need special connections
If space is limited in your home office, an all-in-one printer, fax, scanner and copier might be right for you. However, if one part of it breaks down, you'll have to do without the other functions until it can be repaired.
If you use an e-mail program provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you may have to change addresses if you change ISPs. If you use a program such as Microsoft Outlook Express or Eudora, you won't have to.
When reviewing formatted documents submitted by co-workers or outside designers, Portable Document Format (PDF) reader software like Adobe Acrobat Reader, allows you to view, search, print and collaborate on their files.
You can get e-mail addresses from sites like HotMail or Yahoo. These addresses are free and the advantage of having one is that you don't have to change it if you change your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
If you want a professional sounding address for your home-based business, you can rent a post office box or you can use a CMRA (Commercial Mail Receiving Agency) mailbox service that gives you a corporate-sounding address and a suite number.
If you need a professional place to meet your clients, consider leasing an Executive Suite that provides you with a receptionist, meeting rooms and other office services. You can rent similar spaces on an hourly basis ,as well.
Teleconferencing, used in conjunction with Internet presentation software, allows you to communicate with several people while simultaneously viewing the same presentation from different locations around the globe.
With instant messaging, you can have a free discussion with one or more people anywhere in the world. Just sign in and start "chatting."