There was once a time when setting up a home office literally had to mean setting up a full-sized office. However, times have changed. Largely thanks to technology, you can have a fully functional office with nothing more than a computer â€” although we recommend you also invest in a desk and a chair. Much of the reason for this is cloud computing, which has allowed an amazing chunk of your work to happen in virtual space. Here are some things you can do with cloud computing that will shrink the needed size for your home office.
Take Documents Digital
There are almost no types of documents that can’t be taken into a digital format. Signed contracts, receipts, and other similar documentation all retain legal validity in electronic format and printed documents can easily be scanned and stored. There are even mobile applications which will automatically transform snapshots of physical items into easy-to-use text-based PDFs.
Take it a step further by using cloud storage. This will allow you to access all of these important documents from anywhere that you have internet access.
Contact Information: Always at Your Fingertips
It’s never been easier to store digital information. Almost every email server allows you to store digital contacts which can be retrieved from other locations, and you can even use Gmail and Apple ID to integrate the contact information with your smart phone. Further, mobile phone applications have made the storage of business cards as easy as can be. You take a picture of the card and all of the data is automatically uploaded to your phone and (if enabled) web-based contacts.
Financial Record-Keeping Moves to the Cloud
Thanks to big names like Quick Books and Sage, finances have been thought of as a part of electronics for a while. The cloud takes this one step further in evolution by allowing you to track expenses from anywhere you have internet access, use multi-account reporting, and much more.
Note-Taking in Cyberspace
Rather than taking notes on paper or in a text document, why not try out one of the many CRMs available? You can set up client accounts, record important details, make notations, and retrieve it all whenever you need to. Beyond making note-keeping easy, this also provides an extra layer of legal protection and enables easier collaboration. BaseCamp, QuickBase, and SalesForce are just a few of the big names in cloud CRMs, but there are customized solutions for every budget and need level.
Downsize Your Hardware
Rather than using physical storage and software that you install from disks, try using cloud storage and solutions. It will completely eliminate the need for most home office hardware.
Cloud storage offers other advantages, too, including lower costs than standard servers, greater security, improved mobility, easier integration, and simpler search options. However, for the office minimalist, following these steps can get rid of most of your documents, your financial records, your note system, a lot of hardware, and your contact storage system. Just imagine what your home office will look like once you’ve made these changes.
Guest post by Stephen Cline, a business and finance professional out in the real world, since graduating with his dual degree. Big into technology in the workplace, he’s a big supporter of cloud storage and other tools to work efficiently. Follow him on Twitter- @stephlines