Telecommuters require essential home office equipment, which may consist of small things such as paper clips to advanced electronic equipment. Each company requires specific equipment to be used based on company needs, but may not supply the equipment. Generally, telecommuters are expected to own and use their own equipment.
The most essential piece of telecommuting equipment is a computer system. It is a useful tool for data entry, presentation creation and communication.
Fax machines are also necessary pieces of equipment for sending signed contracts or other written documents to another office. Some companies require telecommuters to use Internet faxing to individuals who do not use email (or require immediate printing). In this case, the person sending the fax will enter the fax number as an email address, and the fax would be sent over the Internet.
When a fax machine is not available, another method of sending a signed contract is by scanning it through a scanner and sending it via email. Scanners are also useful for making computer documents you need from the paper documents you have on hand.
In some cases, it might be necessary to photocopy or print out documents to be mailed. Combination printer/copiers are available, though the machines can also be purchased separately.
Phones and Phone Lines
If the telecommuter must take several business calls or be involved in several over-the-phone meetings, it may be beneficial to have separate lines for home and business purposes, especially if another household individual needs to make or receive calls during business hours.
Other essentials such as paperclips, file cabinets and rubber bands are not usually required by the employer, but are useful in home office organization.
Organizations may provide specific software created for use in their organization, but there are other applications that may need to be used.
First of all, software is needed to connect the printer, scanner and fax machines to the computer system. This software should be saved with the application software for future needs.
Microsoft Office and Outlook
Microsoft Office is an application that is used by most companies to create documents, data sheets and presentations. The popularity of the application allows users to email documents to one another for editing and viewing.
Included in Microsoft Office is Microsoft Outlook, an email application that may be required by the company. Even if Microsoft Office is not used, the telecommuter must have a business email account either independently or though the company.
Webcam and Video Conferencing
Telecommuters may attend meetings or give presentations over the Internet with the use of simple web cam and video conferencing software. Skype is a free and easy-to-use online application used by many companies for video conferencing.
Many official documents are emailed in PDF format to prevent tampering with the document. To receive and open a PDF file, a telecommuter will use a free program called Abobe Reader to open it. If the telecommuter needs to create PDF documents, they will use Adobe Acrobat, which is also available in Adobe Creative Suite.
Making sure you have all of this home office equipment will help you stay organized and accomplish necessary tasks most efficiently.