Home workers come in many different varieties, and there is now no single definition of who they are. For some workers, such as part-time or flexible employees, the home workplace is simply an alternative to the office. For others, such as the ‘smart’ working self-employed, the home serves as a central ‘hub’ while they’re out and about. And for the self-employed creative, media, IT and phone-based service workers, the home is the sole workspace.
Whatever shape it takes, there are many organisational benefits of homeworking. However, these are often ‘lost in translation,’ and many companies have yet to come to grips with the variety of home workers or to capitalise on the many business opportunities that homeworking presents.
What is undeniable is that, around the globe, mobile and homeworking practices are here, and they’re here to stay. The US leads the world in the number of professionals taking up the new way of working. Worldwide, the mobile worker population is to increase to more than 1.19 billion*, or 35% of all workers, and more than half of the Western European workforce will no longer be strictly office-based by 2013. And as Southern European countries shift to more services-based economies, they will also increasingly need to adopt technologies that enable homeworking.
Home workers like you are often a critical link in your business’s decision-making process, providing vital information to customer-facing teams, often at short notice. You can’t afford to be disconnected from the office, or out of reach of colleagues.
You need to be permanently visible to the business and need constant access to office-based information and resources. That requires reliable network connectivity, with access to the internet, e-mail and all the resources and applications that are available back at headquarters. It also means being able to manage calls effectively, even when calls are made through multiple devices.
Home workers therefore need tools that are straightforward to install, easy-to-use, and offer top quality phone and networking capabilities. You have to simplify call management over multiple devices and keep colleagues informed of your availability, so they can reach you more easily. You also need ergonomically designed devices that work with your desk layout and surroundings.
Your office is also your home, so you don’t want to clutter it up with bulky pieces of equipment or cabling. You also want to be able to take advantage of the fact that you are mostly telephone-based, and can have both hands free to engage in other tasks while on calls. Because you spend long hours on the phone, comfort and posture are also important.
Home workers like you rely on a number of technologies to stay connected. Typical devices include a fixed-line phone, smartphone and laptop. You may also use Microsoft Windows 7 with MSOffice and often make calls through your PC. By using a Calisto 835 multi-device speakerphone, you can unify calls from your landline, mobile and/or PC, and also show colleagues when you’re available. By adopting a wireless headset, such as a Savi 700 or Voyager Pro UC, you will be much more comfortable and find it easier to multi-task, improving your productivity.
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