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Why You Don't Need to Work in an Office Ever Again

Nearly all the big trends facing small companies doing business in the '10s speak to the increasing irrelevance of one of the hallmarks of the working world: the office.

Many people already do this, however if your job involves more than just tapping away on your laptop and making the occasional phone call, running a company without an office can be challenging.

One of the biggest fears that many employers have about telecommuting is the worry that remote employees won't do their jobs. Leave staffers alone at home all day, and they'll just watch TV, do the laundry, or play hooky, leaving you to foot the bill for a day off. Those concerns seem to be misplaced, but. As a matter of fact, some studies have shown that employees who have more flexibility work harder and longer than if they were at the office. This is why many employers are happy to outfit their staff with smartphones and laptops: A mobile device makes it incredibly easy to take your work home with you.

Instant messaging has been the communications medium of choice for most virtual or far-flung organizations. Choose a platform, and require all staffers to sign in to their account at the outset of each workday. If employees aren't going to be available for a during, whether it's for lunch or other duties, have them update their IM status to reflect where they are and when they'll be back.

Of course, having a workable phone network is critical too. Though many people have forsaken landlines these days, if employees' cell phone reception isn't perfect, they'll need to change networks, acquire a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system, or even invest in old-school wires. As a small-business owner, you may have to pay for some or all of this expense.

Matter of fact advanced

If you want to get as a matter of fact advanced, you can look into having group video chats with your staff. OoVoo supports video chats with up to 12 participants. Skype Premium supports up to 10 simultaneous participants for $5 per user per month. Just make sure everyone has a very fast network connection.

If your business involves dealing with customers, IM and Skype aren't as a rule the greatest options, and you'll find that in the long run you need to meet people in person. Starbucks doesn't make a terrific first impression, nevertheless your garage may be even worse--home-based businesses carry a stigma of unprofessionalism, and if you're trying to pump your company up to look bigger than it is, you can't specifically ask a prospective client to have a seat on your futon.

If you have the means, shared or drop-in office space can offer instant professionalism, one hour at a time. You'll find shared office space facilities in most metro areas, and many service-oriented businesses lease their conference rooms when they don't need them. Ask around with your service providers, or simply run a Google search for "shared office space yourcity" to find options. Expect to pay $20 to $80 an hour for a space with the typical conference-room amenities, just as Wi-Fi and whiteboards.

You'll never eliminate all paper, clearly. Many people have had good luck with tools just as Evernote, which lets you save electronic documents and scan paper ones, and in substance forces you to categorize and file everything using a system that makes logical sense. Notes and files sync with the cloud, so you can access your information from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Office means you can skimp on security

You might think that freeing yourself from an office means you can skimp on security, but to tell the truth the in contrast is true. When your laptop or smartphone holds all of your data, security becomes of paramount importance. Losing a single device to theft or a malware attack can be devastating. If you keep client data on that device--especially anything of a financial nature--the loss could cripple your business for good.

Making backups is the obvious first step, and if you use cloud services just as Dropbox and Mozy, you can keep your data secure without having to invest in a USB storage device or other additional hardware. Employing strong passwords and encryption is another essential step that can save your hide should a device fall into the wrong hands. Various versions of Windows and Android include encrypted storage options, and third-party tools are as well available.

More information: Idg