Establish an office

Set aside office space in your home, and purchase the essential office furniture, supplies and equipment, laptop computer, peripherals, software, and mobile phone. In most cases scanning and emailing documents can replace faxes, but you may find the occasional client who insists on a response by fax.  You could use a multipurpose printer with a fax function for this.

Today smart phones with voice and data services are standard. This allows you to check your email, when internet service is not available and while traveling.  Having a stand alone wireless hub or including the wireless hub feature with your mobile phone service is useful when your internet service is down or when traveling.

The use of land lines is declining, but if available are good for toll-free calls for teleconferences. The sound quality is excellent and unlike mobile phones, dropped calls are not a problem. During power outages land line services used to be intact, but the old infrastructure is being replaced by fiber optic cable and many are using cable network phones. Fiber optic networks can work for a limited period of time during a power failure by use of a battery powered backup.

Voice over internet protocol (VOIP) telephone services provide reasonably good sound quality, but will not be available during internet service outages. You may be able to get around this by having a stand alone wireless hub.

Check whether the smart phone allows you to see when calls begin and end.  This is a useful feature for billing.  Another important feature is that the phone warns you when you are about to delete a message. Since smart phones tend to update changes everywhere, you could inadvertently delete messages everywhere, including your server.  Messages may  disappear before you have a chance to read them.

While tablets are rapidly rising in popularity, there are still benefits to laptop computers. You might consider buying a laptop with a docking station to allow for a keyboard and monitor. Having a large desktop monitor is useful to allow comparison of documents side by side. Whenever you need the laptop, you can simply detach it and go on the oad. The iPad currently does not support the use of a mouse, which is most unfortunate.  Mac computers currently do not have touch screens, which is inconvenient.  Microsoft tablets allow dual use as a tablet and laptop, have a convenient filing system, and easily replace conventional laptops.  Documents can be edited and saved on PC tablets just as on a conventional laptop. Touch screen monitors are supported by various operating systems. When buying a monitor consider whether it should be a touch screen monitor.

You may wonder whether you should rent some office space to have a place where clients can visit you at your office.  It’s really not necessary. You can generally meet clients at their offices or elsewhere. If you do need to meet clients at your own office you could rent space. For occasional needs, it would be more cost effective to rent space with companies that provide temporary offices that can be rented as needed rather than having a lease on an office that is seldom needed.

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