Home Office Phones
No home office is complete without an office phone! Since there are myriads of telephones, phone systems, phone features, and phone packages to choose from, this article will help you cut through all the talk and explore the world of office phones.
There are business phones for all office sizes, however phones particularly suitable for small businesses and home offices have been granted an acronym of their own! Known as SOHO phones, or 'small office, home office,' these products differ from commercial phone systems (or AKA key telephone systems). While the latter allow for multiple lines and extensions and require a central processor unit called a KSU (key system unit), SOHO phones offer up to four lines and do not require a KSU.
You can choose between corded and cordless SOHO phones. While cordless home office phones used to feature only one- or two-line capabilities, today's cordless SOHO units are multi-line, multi-extension telephones, and many models offer features such as caller ID, voice mail with individual mailboxes, intercom between handsets, automated attendant, and more.
How to Choose a Home Office Phone
The needs of your business and your budget will ultimately determine which home office phone is best for you. For some businesses, a cell phone may be sufficient; others may necessitate web conferencing capabilities and other advanced phone features. Note that phones with advanced technology are much more expensive, so carefully assess your needs before you invest needlessly in a state-of the-art home office.
Types of Phone Systems
VOIP: VOIP is a phone system which connects to the Internet, allowing you to make inexpensive local and international phone calls and talk to others using a microphone or a messenger program (Skype is an example of a popular VOIP application). Easy to use, you and your contacts must simply install the system on your computers and have a high-speed Internet connection. The drawback of the VOIP system is that if there are breaks in Internet service, your phone calls will be disconnected as well.
Automated Attendant Phone System: A useful voicemail program with a series of automated messages wherein people calling in are directed through a series of menu prompts by the 'automated attendant.'
KTS: Many small businesses and home offices use KTS or "key systems" phone systems, which are multi-line private telephone networks wherein the lines are accessible from multiple telephones (or 'stations'), and offer special features related to processing calls (i.e. busy status, call hold, station-station intercom, and more).
Distinctive Home Office Telephones
Once you have chosen the best phone system for your home office or small business, you can have some fun selecting your actual telephone! Today there are myriads of decorative telephones, novelty telephones, and even antique telephones to choose from.
In fact, telephones as office furniture make a distinctive fashion statement that will be be the talk of the town, adding beauty, class, or a touch of 'quirky' to your home office décor! There are telephones for every taste, every style, and every budget.
Here are some of the most talked-about, distinctive home office telephones: antique phones from each of the decades, cartoon-character phones (i.e. Mickey Mouse, Snoopy), retro-style phones, elegant table phones, pay phones, sports-related phones, famous people phones (i.e. Marilyn Monroe), famous trademark phones (i.e. Coca Cola), car-shaped phones, and many more.