Tag Archives: home office

Home Office Series: External and Remote Storage for Electronic Media

Two weekends ago, I found a place to live in Gulfport! Now, the image of my home office can begin to unfold because I can imagine the space that I will be working in. I found a three-bedroom condo right near the beach in Gulfport, so I am anticipating a tranquil environment outside. Inside, I will be working everyday during the week from my home office.

I have already begun the transition process in my current office, which will consist of transferring my electronic files onto the universal network at my firm so that others can access them, as well as transferring those files to an external hard drive to take with me. As additional protection in the event of damage or destruction to my computer or external hard drive during my move, I have enlisted the service of a remote storage company online.

Transferring Files and Other Electronic Documents/Media

If you are moving out of an existing office and into a home office and will be transferring files and other electronic documents or media from an office network that will not be accessible from your home office, as in my case, you will need to think about how you will transfer any such files and documents to your new office location. Depending on the volume of files and media you have to transfer, it may not be possible or practical to transfer your files to the hard disk of your computer. Doing so could deplete the performance and storage capacity of your desktop or laptop computer.

In order not to divert too much of your computer’s resources to storing large or voluminous files, you may want to obtain external storage in the form of a flash drive or external hard drive. The most obvious difference between methods of external storage devices that I can see is the amount of storage capacity you have. I have small, key-chain sized flash drives that may be anywhere from 1 to 6 GB. I use these for my personal files such as personal finances, letters, photos, etc. But the volume of personal files I have is nowhere near the volume that I will use for my office at home.

For business, I obtained a much larger device – a WD (Western Digital) external hard drive that has storage capacity of approximately 1 Terabyte. After transferring my files, I’d used only about 1 GB, but I will continue to utilize this drive as my operating network in the near future. With the capacity of this drive, I will be able to download large files from the Internet and email and not worry about depleting the storage capacity on my computer with the large volume of active and archived files that I will be working with in the near future.

If you are transitioning from an existing office with an existing network and will be transferring a large volume of electronic files, documents or other media to a computer, you may want to check into getting an appropriately sized external hard drive. It can spare the functionality and performance of your operating computer by storing large or voluminous files externally.

Protecting Electronic Files/Media from Damage to Computer or External Drive

You will also want to be sure to protect your files from equipment damage or other failure. Remote storage provides the ability to restore files in the event of loss or damage to your physical computer or storage devices.

I am using a company called Mozy for remote storage. Mozy provides an unlimited automatic back up of your computer hard drive and external drives that are connected to your computer for $4.95/mo. It is an investment that offers peace of mind for your small home business.

If you can imagine a worst-case scenario type of situation involving the destruction of your computer or external storage devices, in that situation, Mozy would allow you to recover all of the files from those devices. It is a sort of insurance.

When I started transferring the files from my designated network at my office onto my external hard drive, I wanted to protect myself from the possible misfortune of any damage occurring to my computer or external hard drives during my move. Even once I am settled into my home office, Mozy will give me peace of mind knowing that I will have a backup of all of my work every day.

If you will have a home office, be sure to implement a system for backing up your electronic media.

TECHY TUESDAYS is a forum to discuss various technologies and web applications. I am currently hosting a series of posts called “Building a Blog.” This series discusses all of the things that I am doing to build this website. I will also discuss tips and suggestions for building your blog based on my own progress, as well as feed back from others. If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.

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Home Office Series: Starter Supplies for Your Home Office

Last week, I created a list of supplies that I will start with when establishing my home office.  The funny thing is, I haven’t yet chosen a place to live.  Thus, I don’t yet have a home office. 

Nevertheless, my location is not important for purposes of the starter list.  Here are some basic items that you will need to establish a home office, at least initially, even if you don’t yet have a place to put them. 

Phone

For obvious reasons, you will need a phone in your office if you will be dealing with clients or making other business related calls.  It is wise to have a business line separate from your home line so that you will have the ability to separate work life from home life.  In addition, you will be able to establish work hours. After hours it is nice to let your business calls go to voicemail.  Establishing a balance between work and personal/family time becomes more difficult when you move work into your home.  Thus, it is important to do all you can to separate the two, starting with your phone line. 

Computer/Laptop

I will be keeping the laptop given to me by my firm. It is a Lenovo Think Pad, an IBM computer.  My laptop provides me with basic functions for word processing, spreadsheets, power point and Internet browsing. 

Obviously your choice of a home computer will depend on the nature of your work.  Some computers are better for word processing-type functions, while others are good for graphic production.  Macintosh computers, for example, have a reputation for excellent graphic quality and utility. 

I have a Macbook Pro as my personal computer, which I use for things like blogging and all of my other personal functions.  I could write a whole post on choosing the right personal computer.  But, I won’t expand this discussion here.  You should do your own research to determine which is the right computer for your home office. 

Desk

Your desk choice will also be a very personal choice.  It will depend on the size and layout of your office.  There are many different shapes, sizes and colors of desks to choose from. 

Lamp/Lighting

Consider the light sources already in the room.  There is usually a central overhead light source as well as a window, which will provide light during the day.  Add additional lighting as necessary using lamps.  Also consider computer glare and the position of your desk or working space. 

Bookshelves/Bookcases

If you will have books and other references in your office, consider installing bookshelves or having one or more bookcases in your office. If you are working in a compact office, bookshelves installed on the wall are a space saver.  If your space is larger, or if you have a large supply of books, adding a bookcase will create more storage space.  Bookshelves and bookcases allow you to organize books and other reference materials.  For me, they avoid the inevitable piles of books on the floor and on the desk. 

You can also use bookends for small reference books.  In my current office, I have a very large L-shaped desk.  I use bookends to keep small reference books such as dictionaries and writing guides.

File Cabinet

File cabinets provide additional storage for important files and other documents.  While documents might also be kept on bookshelves or in bookcases, papers don’t stack uniformly, so papers on a bookshelf or bookcase can look quite messy.  In a file cabinet, papers are out of sight and can be organized more readily.  Some desks have drawers that can keep files.  This allows you to keep your files nearby.

Printer/Scanner/Fax

A combination printer/scanner/fax machine is probably the most practical and economic solution to have in a home-office.  First, having one machine will save space for a small home office.  Depending on your production levels and use of each feature, a combination printer/scanner/fax machine should be sufficient for your office. 

As of April 2009, CNET gave 4 our of 5 stars to the HP Photosmart Premium Fax All-In-One received.  According to its review, the HP Photosmart is “designed with the casual photographer and work-at-home professional in mind.”  Although CNET boasts on its high-quality prints, it notes that this product has a higher-than-average cost for black ink cartridges.  But, overall, it has a rating of ‘excellent.’ 

I plan to have an all-in-one printer/scanner/fax, but since my office will purchase this item for me, I don’t yet know which brand I will have.  Perhaps I will recommend for the HP Photosmart. 

 Computer Monitor

 I currently use a 13” computer monitor in conjunction with my laptop.  It creates an expanded view of my laptop and allows me to have two documents in view at one time.  I can also use it to view a document in one window while having an Internet browser window open in the other view.  It makes multitasking a lot easier when it is necessary. 

 In a small home office, or on a small office desk, using a laptop computer with a flat-panel LCD computer monitor will provide an expanded computer work area while saving space.     

 Other Items

 Other items that I will have initially in my home office include an external hard drive for storing and archiving electronic files, a large white board and markers for temporary diagrams and notes, and a large cork board to post important items in full view. 

 I will also have a broadband connection, a business fax line, a business phone line and a wireless card for remote Internet connection.   

 If you are transitioning to a home office within your present place of employment, work out with your employer prior to the transition, which items will be covered by your employer.  For me, my employer will cover such items as the computer monitor, external hard drive and printer, but they will not cover items such as the furniture.  At some later time, I will be looking into the extent to which I can make a tax deduction for the purchase of items used for my home office.  But, that is a discussion for another day.

 Which items would you start with when establishing a home office?

MAKE MONEY MONDAYS is a forum to discuss ways in which you can create additional sources of income. I try to focus on particular ideas and steps you can take to create alternative income and passive income sources. I have also begun a series of posts called “Rental Property Conversion.” This series follows my husband and I as we turn our property into a rental property. I will also research and post other useful information in this category. If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.

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Filed under Alternative Income Sources, business, Career, Home Office Series, Make Money Mondays, Passive and Alternative Income

Glimpse

For the past two weeks, I have faltered somewhat with posting. Two weeks ago, I didn’t publish a Lite Fare Fridays at all, last week, Lite Fare Fridays was posted on Saturday and this week, I didn’t post the Techy Tuesdays post that I had indicated in the schedule.

The only excuse I can provide is that my schedule has been pretty topsy turvy in the past couple of weeks and I don’t expect it to improve near term. Two weeks ago, I was in party-planning mode and this past week I was preparing to have a friend stay for the weekend. I’d like to say that I am back on track, but truthfully, I am not.

Over the next month or so, I will need to ask you to bear with me and slight changes to my schedule as I prepare to move myself and my office down to Gulfport, MS. I will do my best to provide information to my readers if my schedule changes, but sometimes it will be unforeseen. I want to assure you that if I fail to post on a day that is scheduled, I will pick up the schedule for that day on the following week. In other words, except for Tough Life Thursdays, posts for other days will not stop indefinitely. Thanks in advance for your patience.

Glimpse

Now, without further ado, here is a Glimpse from next week’s schedule:

Make Money Mondays: Home Office Series: For my transition, I have made a list of the things that I anticipate needing in my new home office. I will discuss these and other items that will be useful to supply in your home office.

Techy Tuesdays: Home Office Series: I continue the discussion about finding the right Internet service for your home office. I will discuss appropriate speeds and whether you should purchase separate Internet plans for your residence and your home office.

Wedded Bliss Wednesdays: TBD

Tough Life Thursdays: Discontinued Until Further Notice

LITE FARE FRIDAYS is anything thing that I feel like discussing on that day. I will try to keep it light just in time for the weekend! . If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.

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Glimpse

Here is a Glimpse from next week’s schedule:

Make Money Monday:  From Employer to Employee.  I will look at why some are choosing to reenter the workplace after years of entrepreneurship or pursuing alternative income sources.  I encountered individuals that have done this or are thinking of doing this and it comes as kind of a blow to my own psyche.

Techy Tuesday:  Home Office Series: I will continue the discussion on finding the right Internet service for your home office.  I will discuss appropriate speeds and whether you should purchase separate Internet plans for your residence and your home office. 

Wedded Bliss Wednesday: Handling Disagreements in a Long Distance Relationship.  When your spouse is not with you, disagreements can be very delicate.  There are ways to soften the blow and still communicate your feelings. 

Tough Life Thursday: Discontinued Until Further Notice

LITE FARE FRIDAYS is anything thing that I feel like discussing on that day.  I will try to keep it light just in time for the weekend! .  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Filed under business, Career, Family, Home Office Series, Light Fare, marriage, Marriage and Military, Marriage and Relationships, relationships

From Commuting to Telecommuting

In a couple of months, I will be going from auto commuting to telecommuting.  Once I move to Mississippi, I will be doing my consulting job from a home office that I will need to set up to run independently of my firm’s home office in the Washington, DC area.  Establishing a remote work environment outside of our headquarters is a big step that will require a lot of preparation from both a professional and logistical standpoint.

The professional work that goes into transitioning from commuting to telecommuting is ongoing and includes relationship-building and strengthening, establishment and clarification of objectives and goals, and the demonstration of value and enhanced performance. 

I will discuss some of the logistical work that goes into transitioning to a home office at the time that I am setting up my home office.  I think the discussion on logistics should be captured at the time that I am implementing them.

The Professional Work  

During a recent summit at my firm, the subject of billable hours was raised and a discussion ensued about ways to attract more business, including upselling services existing clients. For me, this discussion is timely. Once I move to a home office, away from the main office, it will be more important than ever to maintain a continuous workload, while being less reliant on the home office resources.  

At the same time, there is still other work that I will do to preserve the existing relationship with my employer. If you will be transitioning to a home office at sometime in the future, I would recommend considering the following.   

Building and Strengthening Relationships

Prior to transitioning to a home office, it should be a priority to build and strengthen professional relationships, as well as relationships with clients.  You may already be doing this, but this will become even more important when you are no longer in the office. 

Consider the colleagues that you are currently working with on a routine basis.  Inform them of your impending transition and provide a plan of action.  How do you intend to communicate with them?  How often?  How will you utilize them and their areas of expertise to support yourself in business from your remote location? 

Will you need additional administrative support to assist with tasks that you will no longer be able to achieve because you are not in the office.  These tasks might include large print jobs, or research utilizing resources only available at your office.

 Inform support staff that you will rely on them for such items.  It is better to let them know before you leave.  Sometimes in large offices, we take for granted the support we receive from administrative staff.  It will be important to establish a rapport with such staff in person prior leaving since, after relocating, you are likely to only be dealing with them by email or phone.

If you will manage client accounts, it is important to strengthen your existing relationships with clients.  Let your clients know of your impending transition.  You may want to reassure your clients that your relationship will not change. 

If you be able to offer additional value to your clients because of your transition, let them know this as well.  Perhaps you will be in a better position to do client visits or will be able to be more flexible with time, be sure to communicate these things beforehand. 

Establishment and Clarification of Objectives and Goals

What are the objectives and goals set out for you in your position now?  Get clarification on objectives that are not clear or that have not been articulated.  It is easier to have a clear understanding of your employer’s expectation.  This should be used as your minimum basis for accomplishment. 

What are your personal business goals?  On top of your existing objectives, what other things do you intend to accomplish above the minimum? 

I would suggest writing down all objectives and goals.  Sometimes having such items in list form in a visible location will help you to implement and achieve the items on the list. 

Your goals should also incorporate an agenda to promote the building and strengthening of relationships and the demonstration of value to your employer.

Demonstrating Value: Maintain Your Presence/Flaunt Your Relevance

Once you transition to a remote office, you must aim to avoid an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality setting in as far as you are concerned.  To maintain your presence with your employer, you may have to flaunt your relevance in a number of areas.

How will you stay fresh in the minds of those that matter in your office?  You must demonstrate the value to your employer in keeping you around as an employee, even remotely. 

Think about the things that you are already bringing to the table.  You may be a prominent rainmaker, able to attract new business or provide valuable contacts, or you may be a team leader or have specialized skills making you an important asset to your employer.  Whatever it is that you are bringing to the table, it will be very important to maintain the value in these things while offering additional things on top of these such that you are offering increasing value over a period of time.

If you were making a transition from commuting to telecommuting, what kind of preparations would you make?

MAKE MONEY MONDAYS is a forum to discuss ways in which you can create additional sources of income.  I try to focus on particular ideas and steps you can take to create alternative income and passive income sources.  I have also begun a series of posts called “Rental Property Conversion.”  This series follows my husband and I as we turn our property into a rental property.  I will also research and post other useful information in this category. If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader. 

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Lite Fare: Glimpse and Roundup

GLIMPSE

Make Money Monday:  From Auto Commuting to Telecommuting – As I prepare to make the transition from reporting to an office everyday to telecommuting from a home office everyday, I will discuss some of the changes that I will need to make in the way I do my job.  When telecommuting, it is important to maintain a strong and permeating presence with employers and with your clients. 

Techy Tuesday: Building A Blog Series: Is it time for me to start paying for a hosting service?  I want to look at this question a little closer and decide whether now’s the time to go at it alone. I will examine the question of when is the right time to leave the safety of free host services and host your own website.

Wedded Bliss Wednesday: TBD

Tough Life Thursday: TBD

ROUND UP

  • Every once in a while, it is good to have a reminder to Stop Reading, Start Doing.  Here, Kevin Muldoon from Time to Tweet reminds us not to spend all of our time reading other people’s blogs at the expense of updating our own.  Scheduling is key and although reading others’ blogs may help us with our own writing, he suggests not spending more than 25% of your allotted blogging time reading other blogs. 

LITE FARE FRIDAYS is anything thing that I feel like discussing on that day.  I will try to keep it light just in time for the weekend! .  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Building a Home Office

As I prepare for my move to Mississippi to join my husband at our next duty station, I sought and have now obtained the opportunity to stay on with my firm and will be working remotely from home in Mississippi.  I am a business consultant in telecommunications and the nature of my business will make it relatively easy for me to make a transition to Mississippi and continue to perform the duties of my work.  I am eager to make this transition and will be making preparations for this change over the next few months.  Although I will maintain employment with my firm in one form or another, I will need to set up a home office and manage my consulting practice out of that office the same way that I have done out of our headquarters for the past five years.  Except now, I will be conducting my own branch of our offices and will need to govern the business of my office with same professionalism that I would apply if I were in business for myself.  

As I make this transition, I will discuss my experiences with setting up a remote home office.  I will discuss the resources I use and the process of establishing a functional home office environment.

In the meantime, you can find additional information about setting up a home office from these links:

Seven Rules in Setting Up Your Home Office

How Setting Up a Home Office Works

Setting Up an IRS Compliant Home Office

Setting Up Your Home Office – YouTube Video

If you have ever set up a remote home office, I’d like to hear your stories.  What did you do to set up your office?  What has been your experience with working remotely?  Please share your comments in the comment section.   

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