When starting a business from home, it’s tempting to blow the dust off your computer, set it up in your spare bedroom and get on with it.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you are setting your office up for the business challenges it will have to face in the next four or five years, not just your immediate needs.
Therefore, you should be deploying a zero tolerance approach to technology, equipment and other business tools that are outdated and will prove a drag on your productivity.
Worse still, these monoliths will make you look like some sort of lightweight to customers and business partners.
New research by LinkedIn has picked out an ‘office endangered species’ list that Australian professionals believe won’t be around in 2017.
Conversely, the survey also threw up a few novel suggestions for dream office tools – including a clone to handle mundane tasks, a heat-generating chair and a room with a number of punch bags.
Previously, we’ve looked at the five things that every home-based business needs. Now it’s time to get with the times and ditch the duds.
LinkedIn surveyed 400 office professionals to pick an outmoded technology. Here are the most common responses:
1. Tape recorders – 86%
If you use a tape recorder, there’s a good chance that its natural replacement sits alongside it on your desk.
Voice recognition software and digital recording devices are no longer expensive, futuristic pieces of tech – they are found in most modern smartphones, including the new iPhone 5.
If you don’t want to spend the money on a dedicated digital recorder, then switch to your smartphone. It’ll save you plenty of time and won’t look quite so archaic when you put it on the table during important meetings.
2. Fax machines – 79%
The humble fax’s inclusion on the list is a surprise only for the fact that people think that it will take the next five years to die out.
Seriously, what kind of savvy, forward-thinking start-up still has a fax machine? Sure, you may have a rather old-fashioned client who insists that invoices are sent via fax, but this is no excuse to be wedded to such ancient technology.
Document scanners are now affordable for most businesses. Better still, you can even copy and send complex drawings and other documents via apps on your smartphone or tablet, such as DocSanner.
3. The Rolodex – 79%
Ah, the Rolodex. The faithful, well-thumbed index of the names and numbers you reach for when you need a lawyer, a new marketing campaign or to drum up some sales.
The one main disadvantage of the Rolodex is that it finds itself a place on your desk and tends to never move. Not great if you, like most entrepreneurs, are often on the move and need contact information quickly.
There are a range of modern-day options that are killing off the Rolodex, including cloud-based tools such as Evernote, Google Apps, Dropbox and Basecamp. At a basic level, you can just store them in your smartphone.
Worried about security or other drawbacks of placing your prized information in the cloud? Online entrepreneur Fred Schebesta has some top advice that should ease your mind.