Teleworker-Work from home, Part 3

September 14, 2008

10. Remote control: GoToMyPC

Being remote doesn’t mean you won’t need help. And that’s especially true with your computer equipment. Remote-control software that gives the help desk control of your PC is nothing new, but GoToMyPC makes it simple. Install the software on your system, give the IT folks in the office the information necessary, and they’ll soon be able to log on and take control of your computer as if they were right there. Naturally, you can do this to take control of the PC when you’re on the road and need access to data at home as well. It costs $179.40 per year to access one PC, $269.40 a year for two, and then $135.60 per year for each additional. There’s also monthly pricing and a central administration center for businesses.

Other options: There’s no end of remote-control software. Remote Desktop in Windows XP and Vista is integrated with the OS; LogMeIn Rescue is specifically for remote IT help.

11. Synchronization and backup: SugarSync

We’re in the era of easily backing up and syncing over the cloud. Having products like SugarSync installed on multiple PCs will ensure that files you change on one computer are synchronized with the others, with the added bonus of online file storage. With this kind of product, there’s no need for every computer to be online simultaneously to sync. Send a file to the online storage from a completely different PC or handheld and it will show up on every computer on the account. Sharing files with users not on the account is simple, too. In addition, SugarSync can sync files with phones, even with the iPhone.

How does that help you at home? If the home office sets up a PC or two with SugarSync and you all use the same account, you instantly have local access to office files. You can access them from other PCs since the files are stored online. You may never need actual server access ever again. The base price is $24.99 a year for 10GB backup and up to $249.99 a year for 250GB.

Other options: The list is exhaustive: Syncplicity, Dropbox,, Memeo, and Microsoft (with its new Mesh architecture) are all in the sync and backup act.

12. Permanent "phone following": GrandCentral

Chances are the boss will want to reach you during work hours. You may not know when. How do you take advantage of the perk of leaving the house at odd times to run errands without being missed? If the boss is a phone person, you can always be on the other end of the line by signing up at GrandCentral.

This service, purchased by Google and in perpetual beta (like so much from the Googlers), forwards calls made to the number you register to any phone you want, be it landline, VoIP, or mobile. GrandCentral will ring multiple phones at once, and you can answer from any of them. It also handles your voice mail. You can make groups, so that friends, family, and coworkers each get separate messages, and even ring into different phones. You can make calls out using the Web interface and forward voice mails, which are stored until you delete them. The service is completely free.

Other options: PhoneFusion One offers essentially the same service but charges $9.95 per month. That includes five-person conference calling, and it doubles as an incoming fax line (documents arrive as PDFs in your e-mail). A premium version adds outgoing calls over VoIP.


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