Home Office Internet is more important than ever—with a steadily increasing number of people working from their homes today either as employees or small business owners. With ISPs (Internet Service Providers) increasing their residential broadband speeds, working from home with a powerful home office internet connection is more practical than ever before.
Top three things to get your home office off the ground: a designated space in your home to work, a computer and fast Home Office Internet.
Telecommuting: Current Trends and Benefits
According to Reuters online, about one in five workers around the world telecommute frequently, and nearly 10 percent work from home every day. Plus, according to a new Census report, an additional 4.2 million professionals worked from home at least one day a week.
And, how about this? People who worked from home earned more than those on-site. Median household income was $74K, compared to $65K from on-site workers, with those who do both being the biggest earners, $96.3K!
Telecommuting, remote work or telework is officially a work arrangement where “commuting” is removed from the job description. Most telecommuters work from home, while others use mobile technology to work from coffee shops—the “coffice”—or other locations, usually with free Wi-Fi and plenty of sockets to recharge from.
With tools like groupware, virtual private networks, conference calling, videoconferencing and Voice over IP (VoIP), companies can communicate with workers over long distances. This saves businesses a substantial amount of money traditionally spent on travel—and travel-based costs like airfare, hotels, meals, and rental cars. Telecommuters today can carry a laptop, or tablet device, and work both at the office and at home. Plus, with the advent of cloud computing technology and Wi-Fi availability, telecommuters can access everything they need from remote servers.
“Going Green” and Telecommuting – The ideal partnership
Corporations and individuals that support telecommuting contribute in a big way to a “green and sustainable” way of life. Highlighting just a few positive environmental benefits, telecommuting:
- reduces traffic congestion and traffic accidents
- relieves pressure on transportation (planes, trains and automobiles)
- reduces greenhouse gases
- reduces energy use
- improves disaster preparedness
A remote workforce also benefits businesses directly:
- reduces travel-related costs
- reduces cost of real-estate footprint
- reduces carbon footprint
- reduces turnover and absenteeism
- improves employee morale
- helps to reduce spread of illness (health care costs)
In summary, telecommuting is a win/win and improves society in numerous ways, including economic, environmental and personal.
Desktop Virtualization and Project Management
With the advent of desktop virtualization software from companies like VMWare, Symantec and Citrix, mobile devices can now access any legacy application or operating system from the office. This freedom of accessibility has created a more skilled staff, as information sharing and decision-making can be performed on familiar devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
As telecommuting increases, management technology of telework improves. Now, project managers can supervise employees, develop daily schedules, establish milestone dates and design key performance indicators—with software like Embotics VM Management, Leankit, Basecamp and ScrumDo.
About Security: Setting up a VPN at home
Some companies require that your home computer be connected to their network via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Simply stated, A VPN is a network of computers that are all connected securely in different locations.
Larger corporations with remote workers often ship an encrypted computer to you with a VPN already connected. But if not planning on working from home for a company like Wal-Mart or Ebay, then you—or your on-site IT department—will work together to set up a home VPN connection.
When securing just your Home Office Internet and Online access, there are plenty of free or paid VPN services that encrypt your traffic only. Setting up your own private VPN is easy, and once you do, you’ll be able to browse securely on any network using your own home office Internet connection.
How much Bandwidth do I need for successful Home Office Internet?
First, determine what you do, what applications you will use, and how many people use your network. Also, if you already have Home Office Internet, use a speed test to gauge how much speed you are currently getting. Greater use of cloud services such as Office 365 and Google Apps can push broadband demands, but if you plan to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix while working, you’re going to eat up considerable amounts.
File sharing—by email, FTP, Dropbox, MEGA or anything else—is also a challenge for services like asymmetric DSL and cable connections. Plus, congested upstream connections can go from annoying when browsing, to fatal when using VoIP.
The best-case scenario is to go big when shopping for home office internet. Get the most bandwidth possible from your ISP, and you’ll have very few if any latency problems.
If super-fast home office Internet speeds seem like overkill—i.e. you are the only one using broadband during work hours—then the average speeds that we can recommend are between 20-25 Mbps (download). This can be easily bundled to your TV and Phone service, or you can go stand-alone and have a separate service for streaming media such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime—without sharing bandwidth.
Connecting Multiple Devices
Often, teleworkers have multiple people working from home or occasionally work on the patio or some distance from the house. Setting a basic home network makes this possible.
A network is a group of devices that share one connection. This could be a cable that connects two computers to a complex Wi-Fi wireless signal that allows multiple devices all at once. Your home network setup should include a modem, router (preferably wireless), network cables and your computers and printers, etc.
Keep in mind that the more devices on your network, the more bandwidth will be needed, so plan ahead and make it a goal to get at least 20 Mbps (download) or make sure that you can easily upgrade as your requirements and budget allows.
Cloud Computing trends and Video Conferencing
Cloud computing is more popular than ever, and cloud services such as Office 365 and Google Apps are really making remotes work easier and more affordable.
Cloud computing is basically utility computing where local computers are relieved of heavy lifting, and the cloud—available over the home office Internet—runs the applications and stores the data. The next few years, cloud computing will offer instant backups of virtual infrastructures; cloud subscription models offering pay as you grow; and cloud-based disaster recovery services, and will improve the cloud—and make it more desirable and cost effective.
Now that Video Conferencing technology eliminates the need for in-person meetings, your home office internet will need a good tool to connect to the job site. More formal video conferencing software like Cisco WebEx and Citrix GoToMeeting are inexpensive, while Skype, Google+ Hangouts are free with an email address.
Using cloud computing software, streaming video and video conferencing will all take up sizeable bandwidth at home. Figure out what is needed by your employer, or small business, and make the correct decision accordingly—which obviously means get the “most” bandwidth from your home office internet you can get. You won’t be sorry!