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8 must-have tools if you work from home

Rob Enderle | Aug. 10, 2015
Working from home isn’t for everyone, and there are many factors to consider before you decide if it’s right thing for you. Columnist Rob Enderle helps you decide if it is and suggests some tools that will make your home office more efficient and successful.

Epson EcoTank printer: This just came out, but since you don't have a facilities group to get you ink when you work at home and expensing printer cartridges is a pain (I hate expense reports like the plague), it's a great option. These new printers are more expensive, but they basically come with a year's worth of ink, and refills are incredibly cheap when compared to cartridges. At home you just want stuff to work, you don't want to be chasing down ink.  

DocuSign: OK, if there is one service the work-at-home employee should demand it is DocuSign because then you don't need that printer or scanner as much. This service has massively changed how long it takes to approve a document and send it on its way. This is one of those services that every company should now have. It really changes how painful contract signing can be.

Linksys Router: I've been testing a lot of high-end consumer routers and most simply haven't been that reliable. It is hard to justify a full enterprise router for the home, but if you lose your router, particularly if you have a VoIP phone, you are out of business.   These are the only routers that have consistently held up short of an enterprise product. The best workhorse is their WRT1900 at the moment, however, I'm currently using its more cutting edge EA8500, one of the first MU-MIMO gigabit Wi-Fi routers (but not seeing much additional benefit because I don't have a MU-MIMO client yet) and their AC1200 dual band Wi-Fi Range extender. I'm getting amazing performance.  

The benefits exceed the risks

I still think the benefits for working at home easily exceed the risks, particularly later in a career for single contributors or managers over distributed units. It is simply a higher quality of life, but you do have to understand the risks and your own ability to focus and concentrate. I hope you find the tools I've provided useful, some should even be considered if you just occasionally work from home. Here is hoping you find the location, an understanding manager and a job you love and deserve.


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