Okay, I just have to ask – does your home office setup hum along like an a capella group? If it doesn’t, I have some discoveries I want to share with you as a result of giving my client a Home Office Technology Makeover.
“Eileen” and her assistant “Karen” work in dedicated office space in part of Eileen’s home. They each have a laptop, and Eileen uses a Blackberry. Eileen’s laptop has a 2nd monitor attached to it.
Not so shabby, right? Except that Eileen’s Blackberry was not on speaking terms with her laptop. Strangely, her 2nd monitor was turned off and its sole purpose was to hold a PAPER COPY of her Outlook calendar scotch taped to the top edge. Upon entering, I was presented with a hit list of stuff that didn’t just work right. Outlook, Blackberry, Excel, Library and Windows issues spilled onto the page. “How long can you stay?” they asked. Now here I should mention that Eileen is a brilliant specialist in her field with years of expertise, but computer software was not something she wanted to spend time analyzing.
I know what you’re thinking – who the heck does want to spend time with this stuff when there’s real work to be done? I hear you!
I dived in head first and introduced her Blackberry to Outlook. Then I showed her that you can have your Outlook Calendar open on a 2nd monitor while your Email is open on your laptop screen. I tweaked this and adjusted that … and both Eileen and Karen were smiling brightly, since their work environment had changed dramatically in such a short time.
Some here are some tips for you –
If you’re going to use a Windows Theme, make sure to turn the sound off or use the Windows Default so as not to punctuate your phone conversation with your client with silly sound effects. If you use Outlook for your business communications, right click the icons on the bottom to have your Mail and Calendar open in their own windows. If you have an associate who handles your mail, an easy trick is to set up Outlook on her laptop with your email account so she can respond to your clients while you’re away.
None of these are earth shattering, but little things collect to make a big difference in the productivity level of your work environment. So please promise me something – don’t let a laundry list of issues, and oddities paralyze you from working efficiently!
Oh, almost forgot to mention – If your Blackberry was never synced properly, chances are, simply running the Blackberry desktop software and choosing Outlook as your organizer is all you need. And if you have Word and Excel docs you use time and again, with 2010 you can “pin” them to the Recent Files list so they don’t roll off, guaranteeing you can find them in an instant!
Wasn’t that worth a few moments of your time?