As technology has advanced, so have the options for how and where we work. Portable computing tools combined with cloud-based services and applications have made the mobile office a viable alternative to the traditional centrally-based office.
Businesses today may choose a complete virtual work model or a combination of traditional and mobile offices without any loss in productivity or professionalism. If you are considering a mobile work option, address these three key areas:
1. Communication. You need to be able to communicate internally and externally. Your mobile phone can be used for basic communications, but cloud-based business phone systems offer greater options. A hosted business phone solution allows you to have a virtual private branch exchange with all of the benefits of an on-site system that unifies your entire business communications. In addition, some services can follow you wherever you go and also offer mobile applications that allow you to dial out on your phone as if you were in the office, removing the need to share your personal cell number with business contacts.
2. Connectivity. It is essential that you have Internet connectivity. This will give you access to your cloud computing applications, e-mail, and of course the Internet. While there are exceptions depending on your location, in general there are several options to get connected: Wi-Fi (Use WeFi, or JiWire to locate global Wi-Fi spots); cell phone data connection; 3G USB modem; Verizon MiFi (available in the U.S. only); and broadband card.
3. Data access and integration. Once connected, you will need to access and share data. Cloud-based file servers provide online file storage, data collaboration, and data backup. Team members, clients, and vendors can access and share files securely without using e-mail. The online file server also helps with version control so that multiple users can work on shared documents without confusion. Finally, you can back up all your data, ensuring that if your smart phone or portable computer is lost, your data are still safe.
Mountain View, Calif.
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