Upgrading your home office

Content provided by MWEB - South Africa’s leading Internet Service Provider (ISP)

If you’re trying to run a business from your dining room table, on a dial-up Internet connection with the computer you’ve had since high school, it might well be time to revamp your home office. While there are no substitutes for a good business plan, having the best technology you can afford will ensure your working hours are spent more productively, thereby improving your output.

Technology is always changing and improving, and sometimes it’s difficult to know which of the latest gadgets are right for your needs. Carolyn Holgate, GM of MWEB Connect, says people running an office from home often rely heavily on technology but are often unable to keep up with new developments due to the cost factor. 

“It’s therefore important to identify where your biggest technology needs are, and allocate your budget accordingly. For example, maybe you need a laptop computer so you can work productively when you’re not in the ‘office’, or perhaps a smart phone that lets you receive and respond to e-mails while you’re on the road would be more valuable.”

Holgate provides some good advice on the kind of tools you need to run a successful office from home.

Computer Hardware

The first thing you need to have is a reliable PC or laptop, If your business requires any kind of written communication such as e-mail or fax, then a PC is a must. Go for the best you can afford, as you will use it every day.

Accessing the Internet

The next important tool that you need is a good Internet connection offering speed and an uninterrupted connection.

The days of dial-up are over and MWEB offers a variety of Internet connection options that you can choose from to suit your home office needs and to connect to your corporate network.

  • ADSL: ADSL is a fixed line connection that uses ordinary telephone lines and a special modem to provide a fast, always on Internet connection. You can also receive calls and faxes whilst online and your connection is generally very stable.
  • 3G/HSDPA connection: If you are often away from your desk and need to connect to the Internet on the move, this is the option for you. It uses cellular technology, which means that if you are in an area with a 3G/ HSDPA signal you can use your laptop and 3G card for fast, wireless Internet access.
  • Fibre: Fibre is the latest and greatest in fixed line connectivity. It uses Fibre optic cables which means it's fast, very fast and more stable which makes it super reliable. And because it doesn’t use traditional copper cables it's also theft and weather proof.
  • LTE: LTE is a mobile broadband technology that uses radio spectrum to provide wireless Internet access. Unlike ADSL or Fibre, LTE requires no physical installation. Once you've got an LTE Router and activated your SIM card, you're good to go. If you live in an area that can’t get Fibre or ADSL or you live in a rental property and are not allowed to install Fibre, then LTE could be the answer for you because it does not require any fixed installation.

Going mobile

An important part of doing business today is the ability to communicate from anywhere.  For small businesses in particular, being desk-bound means you’re always one step behind, and it’s therefore important to be contactable at all times. Smartphones have changed the face of business today and the ability to sync your computer to your phone will ensure you don’t miss a thing. 

Smartphones allow you to access your e-mail, the Internet, your contacts and your calendar while you are away from your desk.  MWEB has taken the first step in its new strategic approach to mobile connectivity with the announcement of a new division that will manage every aspect of customers’ Internet connectivity through mobile devices.

Making calls online

Using a normal phone handset plugged into an ADSL router, MWEB’s Webcall service allows you to make cheaper national, international and cellphone calls using your broadband Internet connection. Anyone can make use of the Webcall service, not just MWEB subscribers. You will receive a 087 telephone number, with which you can make and receive calls from any other network, including Telkom and all the cellular providers.

Most importantly, calls between Webcall subscribers in South Africa will be absolutely free.  Calls to landline numbers in countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, France, Germany, Israel and Canada are generally less than 40 cents a minute at any time of the day.

And lastly, to ensure your productivity is constant, find a designated space in your home for your office with enough room to work comfortably and store your work materials.

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