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Working from Home: What to Ask Your Broadband Provider has an interesting piece from David Heyes, COO of TFM Networks, about some of the less-often-considered aspects of working from home. Namely: is it as simple as plugging your employees into a broadband connection and letting them go?

In the article, Heyes covers five key points you may not have thought of, and that your broadband provider might not like you to think of. Since these points imply something a little more involved than the plug-and-play aspect of working from home that a lot of companies (that want to sell you a “business broadband package”), it’s important to take a look before you dive in:

1. Service: What happens if the broadband connection fails?
2. Performance: What about speed, bandwidth and prioritizing key applications over your network?
3. Security: How important is this to you, including data protection?
4. Health & Safety: What are the regulations for home workers?
5. Maintenance and Procurement: Who provides the home office supplies and equipment?

All in all, the article is a decent breakdown of letting employees work from home. I personally had never considered, for example, how a from-home employee would still be covered by a business’s insurance plan, and how they might have to conduct site visits to make sure someone’s home office was up to spec.

Basically, this is an interesting read for anyone looking to pitch the idea of working from home, or any employers looking to expand into that area. As much as we’d like it to be as simple as throwing together a desk, a chair, a filing cabinet, some computers and a broadband connection, the reality is a little more complicated.

Article: Organize More Efficiently By Staying Put

My favorite go-to blog for organizing and streamlining my life, Lifehacker, has a great article up right now about organizing your space.

While the article is geared toward general organizing, I find the tips within to be pretty much in line with my own philosophy about cleaning up my home office.

Basically, the article (which quotes from another favorite organization blog, Apartment Therapy), says the main trick to making sure you do the job you set out to do is to stay in the room you’re doing it in:

When you’re in the sorting process (the crucial first step) of organizing a specific room, STAY in the room for the organizing session. (Prepare for the session by having trash bags on hand for trash, recycling, donations.) Invariably you’ll find objects that actually do have a home in another room or on another floor. Most of our clients, if left to their own devices, are inclined to leave the room immediately every time they come across an object like this to return it to its home. And in the process, it’s REALLY easy to get distracted and to not return to organizing.

I find this to be immensely true. I’ve never had a huge house to fan out and get lost in, but even during apartment living I’ve found that the second I leave the room I’m tidying, I lost the motivation to re-enter it. Seems like the farther you get from the job at hand, the easier it is to not go back. Solve the problem by staying put.

The best office redesign I’ve ever had came when I purchased some plastic organizers of the bucket and bin variety, set up some new shelves, and sat down in the office and went to town. Remember, you have to make a mess to clean one, sometimes, so don’t be afraid to tear your office down before re-building it. Just don’t walk away after step 1 and never come back for step 2.