Telecommuting - Your Office away from the Office
Albert Einstein said “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. So, sometimes we need to escape the tether of our desk. But what if you need access to files or emails to work on your business challenges? This month we highlight the things to consider when working away from the office.
If you only need a few key documents, you may decide to copy them onto a USB drive to take them out of the office. Be very careful if these files contain private information such as financial figures or customer records, as USB drives can be easily lost or even stolen. Consider USB drives with security features such as password access and encryption. You also need to keep in mind whether other people would need to access and possibly update those same files in your absence, as you don’t want to end up with conflicts where your changes overwrite theirs or vice versa.
You may be able to access your emails via any computer with internet access, using a web browser version of your email software. This would require you to enter your name and password and is then encrypted, using the same security mechanism as internet banking and online purchasing systems.
Email access on mobile phones is also becoming increasingly popular. If you’re worried about the large attachments that you receive and how big your phone bill may become, most phones allow you to download only a small part of each message first. You can then decide which emails you want to see the entire contents of and which attachments you which to download fully.
You can even remotely control your office computer across the internet from another PC, seeing and actioning everything as if you were sitting back at your desk. Access can also be granted so you can use the local disk drives and printers at your location, and copy and paste information between the two computers. This, however, would require your office computer to be powered on.
If you normally use a laptop, you may be able to achieve seamless connectivity back to your office using a ‘virtual private network’ (VPN). This secure channel across an internet connection allows your laptop to act as if it’s plugged in back at your desk, including synchronizing files for later use when you are completely disconnected.
Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter about the best remote access method for you.