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What is a Digital Home Office?
Today's home office is much more than a desk and a computer, fax and phone. The 21st-Century digital home office is a digital home office: connected, collaborative, portable, and secure. Telecommuters, freelancers, and home-based businesses are all using wireless and Web-based technologies to create digital workspaces.
There are more than 40 million SOHO enterprises in the U.S. and about a million more are expected to join those ranks during the next year, according to Working Solo, Inc. The Small Business Administration says that 52% of all small businesses are home-based. Salary.com says one of the country’s top trends in 2006 will be the expansion of work-from-home programs for employees. One study shows that, of those who work at home, 68% are employees. Just 19% are home-based business owners and 11% are non-home-based self-employed people. International Data Corp. estimates that by 2009, the United States will be the most mobile-enabled workforce in the world with more than 70% of workers working away from corporate offices.
Well-designed digital home offices can maximize free time for the owner, improve communication and collaboration between workers and colleagues, and save money through decreased phone charges, fewer IT equipment pieces and a reduced need for IT support. A connected, efficent workspace that helps people work smarter - not harder - is the hallmark of an true digital home office.
What's your digital home office story?
I work from home as a full-time writer and author. My digital home office has one computer with three monitors, I store my files on an MS Exchange 2003 server, and I have the requisite fax machine and printer cluttering my desk. I use a webcam primarily for family but I do talk to colleagues with it as well via Skype. My favorite thing about working from home? The freedom I have to care for my young daughter! Plus, nothing beats the 30-foot commute from the bedroom to my office. - Sally
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My home office changes often, sometimes weekly. Some days I need to work on Vista RC2, some days Windows XP, and occassionally, I have to drag out my Mac. I even have a couple of Tablet PCs, a Blackberry, a scanner, a few printers, and a few sets of speakers around too. I have a lot of monitors, and they're configured to span data across them. Sometimes I feel I'm in a technological wonderland, and them I peek under the desk. At some point, someone's go to figure out how to get rid of all of these cables and wires. And going "wireless" doesn't seem to help much! Joli
My home office consists of 2 laptops, one for the my full-time insurance job, and one for managing my personal business and investments, 2 fax lines, 2 phone lines and 2 cell phones. My home office makes my old off-site office look tame! Still, having the ability to throw a load of laundry in, forego the office garb, and most importantly, be here for my family, is invaluable. My Company wins too, as my breaks and lunch are shorter, or non-existent, and I work as long as I need to to get the job done rather than picking up at 5 o'clock and going home. ~Carla
I work three jobs from home. In one corner, I plan the classes that I teach through a home-school co-op. In another corner, I'm a conference planner and registrar for a K-12 education group. And in MY corner, I help hopeful adoptive couples fix up their adoption profiles.
To do all this, I have a desktop, a laptop, a workhorse thumbdrive, and a printer/scanner/fax machine. My latest addition goes in my purse -- a smart phone that makes everything just a bit more portable and allows me to work anywhere. The only ones who DON'T like my home office are my kids -- they'd rather I be out in the backyard with them! -- Lori of www.profilesthatgetpicked.com
I work for a compay with 19 branches offices. I am the only employee working from home. (YIPPIE !!)I have a 3 phone lines, fax and modum link to the companies inventory system. I dress like I'm going to an office everyday - it's psychological!! I transfer my incoming calls to my cell phone to be able to pick up children from school or run a short errand. The best part of working from home is the flexibility to take care of your children. The worst part - lunch at your desk - everyday!
If I could have written MY perfect job description -- this is IT ! ---Peg
At first, working for a virtual company sounded daunting. Now more than two years later, I can't imagine working any other way. The most important part of working from home is having a reliable fast internet connection (I have cable internet). The best perk of working from home? While everyone else is scraping snow off of their cars in the winter, I am warm and cozy at my computer. For my position, I just need my computer (with that crazy fast internet) and a dedicated office phone line for business-related matters. I love working for a virtual company and would not trade it for any on-site job out there. -- Renee
Resources for Digital Home Office WorkersCNET's Do-It-Yourself Digital Home Office Projects: 24 Cool Things You Didn't Know You Could Do! by S.E. Slack will be published by McGraw-Hill in Spring 2007.
Visit  Sally's Web site.