Going home to office

Tushar Kanwar        Print Edition: March 2012

Live where you work and work where you live - quite the dream for most of us, isn't it? Imagine the benefits: no daily hour-long commutes, no dress code, no office disturbances, and the liberty to wake up late! But it's no longer an impossibility. To round off the work-from-home experience, there's some great tech out there - stuff you should serious consider as investments if you're planning to set up shop at home.

1. No Pain, All Gain
Working from home invariably means extended phone-calls - and cradling the phone against your ear is just a pain in the neck. Invest in a good stereo hands-free solution, such as the Sennheiser MM100 or the Plantronics Backbeat 903+, which not only give you super comfortable hands-free use for several hours but can also pipe stereo music from your laptop in between calls.

2. The Heat Is On
You do know that prolonged exposure to overheating laptops tends to fry more than just your laptop's internals, don't you? If you work from the couch more often than the desk, pick up a laptop cooling pad from among many options available from Belkin and Logitech. The Laptop Cooling Hub from Belkin , for instance, not only cools the laptop via an in-built fan for correct air circulation, but also provides four USB 2.0 ports to plug your external devices like an external mouse or a flash drive. Or take the Logitech N700. It throws in integrated stereo speakers so you don't have to suffer crappy audio via the laptop speakers again.

3. Choose the Cloud
Working outside an organisation has its downsides- there's no IT staff to summon when your hardware goes belly-up. Fortunately, with cloudbased productivity suites, such as those from Microsoft, ZOHO and Google, and storage options like SkyDrive and Dropbox, you can now work for free or by paying, at most, low monthly subscriptions. An added benefit with most cloud-based suites is that collaboration with other participants and sharing content are inherent to their DNA. Plus, if you tag them along with a wireless broadband connection, they're available to you on the road as well, across one or all of your devices.

4. Stay Fit
No time to exercise? Working from home shouldn't mean that you won't be able to stay fit. Apart from taking ergonomic precautions, what if you could actually work out while working? The Mini Home Exercise Cycle lets you do your cardio duties while you work at your desk. And it's priced rather reasonably, so it fits both your budget and under the table (http://bit.ly/gjXSWM). Plus, for the health conscious, the Fitbit Ultra device is a perfect buy-it tracks your every move, letting you keep on top of how many calories you've burned, how well you slept, etc, and uploads the data to your iPhone or to the web for you to analyse where you can improve.

5. Take Notes
If your work involves long phone calls and taking notes, try out the Livescribe series of smart pens. These nifty pens record everything you hear, say and write and links your audio recordings with your notes. Pull up important information anytime by just tapping on what you wrote, and the software plays back the related audio. How cool is that!

6. Buy a Tablet/Smartphone
Blindingly obvious as it may be, a tablet is a great asset for the work-from-home-folks. Why? You can't really lug a laptop when you want to run an errand or drop by at the local supermarket, can you? And when you pick up your tablet of choice, also ensure you lug home the Luxa2 H4 stand, which secures an iPad or a Kindle or any other tablet/e-reader to your desk. You can then use the tablet to keep an eye on alerts like email and stocks, and with the right app, you can even extend your desktop applications onto the tablet.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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