5 essential tools for the telecommuters

If you plan to telecommute full-time, you'll need more than just a computer and a mobile phone. Here are five essential tools you'll want to consider before you decide to work from home.

Essential tools for the telecommuters
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Essential tools for the telecommuters

With the ubiquity of tablets, smartphones, Wi-Fi and notebooks, it's easier than ever to cut your commute to work down to as little as the walk from your kitchen to your home office. But before you jump in to working from home full-time, you'll want to ensure you have some basic essentials to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Here are five essential tools you'll need to consider if you plan on telecommuting full time.

Hotspot
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Hotspot

As a remote worker, you might find yourself on the road regularly or working from different locations, such as a coffee shop or airport lounge. And even if you tend to stick to your home office, you still might want some backup in case your Internet connection drops or becomes spotty. That's when a mobile hotspot can be a lifesaver for your telecommuting lifestyle. One important consideration is that you'll be tied to a monthly data fee, but most network carriers can bundle this alongside your smartphone. If you don't want a separate hotspot device, you can even look into getting a heftier data package so that you can use your smartphone as a hotspot as needed.

LTE-enabled device
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LTE-enabled device

If you don't feel like spending the money on a hotspot device, you can always consider getting an LTE-enabled device like the iPad Air 2 or Google Nexus 9. You'll still need to pay a monthly fee for the LTE capabilities, but at least you'll have a constantly connected device to go with it. Tablets can come in handy in a pinch, especially since you can access simplified versions of the Microsoft Office Suite through iOS and Android apps. Just sync a keyboard and you'll be back to work in no time, no matter where you are.

Cloud storage
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Cloud storage

Since you work from home, you won't have as easy access to an IT department. If you get up one morning and fire up your corporate-issued laptop, only to find it isn't working, you might be out of luck for a while. But just because your work computer is out of commission - at least until you can get in touch with IT - that doesn't mean you have to stop working. If you keep your important files and data backed up to a cloud storage service, you won't have to worry about potentially losing your entire hard drive and you can pick up where you left off. It also comes in handy if you travel for work and you don't feel like lugging around both your work and personal computer or tablet. With cloud storage, you can access your files on any device and travel light; maybe with that LTE enabled tablet mentioned earlier.

Web conferencing
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Web conferencing

One major downside to working from home is that you miss out on quality face time with your coworkers. But thanks to modern technology, you can virtually attend meetings using a number of different services. Your business may provide you with some type of screen sharing or virtual web conferencing service, but if not, you won't have to shell out a ton of money to get one. There are a number of free screen-sharing apps that you can download to get the job done.

Related Story: 15 screen sharing apps for easy collaboration

Landline or VoIP
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Landline or VoIP

Even if you use your mobile phone for the majority of your business needs, it's smart to have a landline as backup in case your service drops or you lose your device. It's also simply higher quality audio than you smartphone, making it easier to conduct meetings without either party misunderstanding the other. You can even get a VoIP phone or get an online number, like those offered through Google or Skype. Some of these VoIP services even offer features like voicemail transcription, SMS messaging, group calls, call recording, call routing and more. You'll want to consider your personal needs to make sure you sign up for the right service.