Here are my top ten software applications that can enable you to connect your home office to customers, contacts and partners in the world beyond.
Say ‘hello’ and talk business with contacts by using these online tools and services:
Stay on top of projects and in touch with partners via one of these project management tools:
There are also technologies you can adopt to ensure your business travels with you. These include: webmail systems that enable access to your emails from anywhere; a remote desktop offering files and folders on the go; or web-based office systems such as Google Apps or Open Office, so your entire business is stored online and in easy reach. I’ll cover these in detail in a future piece. Until then, happy homeworking and connecting with the globe.
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation the home business website and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’ and ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’.
Businesses and individuals across the globe are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint than ever before. We have all learnt to switch off lights in empty rooms and turn off the tap while brushing our teeth but the expectancy on us to do more to stop global climate change is increasing.
It can be hard to see what more you can do if you are already very conscious about your carbon footprint but perhaps your work or business life has not had as much scrutiny as your home life.
With all the great advancements in technology surely there are alternatives that many businesses may have overlooked. Here are a few of our suggestions:
Cut your travel with VoIP
How often do you travel across town for a ten to thirty minute meeting? Cut the cost of travel and the price to the environment by exploring the benefits of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Call conferencing features enable you to hold meetings over several sites on one phone system – saving time, money and emissions.
If you would like to enhance your meeting then you can use services like GoToMeeting where you can share your screen, and therefore PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations, video etc with all the meeting participants. It will add extra interaction to your meeting and help add the visual element conference calls lack.
By holding meetings online you can easily work from home meaning you don’t have to drive to work or drive around all day to get to meetings. Cutting transport emissions is key to the Government’s ‘Low Carbon Transition Plan’. It’s not just great for your company’s green image, but also your budget.
Why run two offices?
Think about all the things that are needed to run an office. Electricity for your computers, phone system, servers, lighting, air-conditioning etc. And then there’s the gas for your heating systems and your staff facilities. Why not seriously cut costs and do your bit for the environment by encouraging your staff to work from home.
Not only will you cut emissions from reducing travel to an office but you’ll also be using almost the same amount of energy that is used to heat and light your home anyway.
If you are concerned about accessing your files and you still have an ‘office machine’ then you can remotely log into your work computer by installing free programme LogMeIn or ask your IT consultant about remotely accessing your server.
Accessing files wherever you need them also reduces the amount of hard copies you have to make, saving paper, ink and energy on printing those long documents – which are usually only read over once or twice before being discarded.
There are also other hidden benefits to working from home such as reduced stress, increased productivity and no train delays or traffic jams.
Gradwell is keen to assist their customers to reduce their carbon footprint. One such client ‘Sustain IT’ has already adopted this as part of their corporate culture and reducing their carbon footprint is seen as a vital part of their company policy, with VoIP being the centre and catalyst for this.
“Initially we had not thought of our carbon footprint. However we now consider it to be a vital part of our Company Policy. Internet Telephony helps us to reduce our employee travel and therefore reduce the impact on the environment that commuting is having. So anything we can do as an employer to encourage our staff to use home working or increase the use of the public transport network and cycling has to be good for the future of our children and the planet.”
Everyone making a small change will make a big difference to the planet – and it can benefit your business too.
Peter Gradwell, Gradwell