Email – A Necessary Tool for Working at Home

One of the things telecommuters will need to deal with on a day to day basis is email. I grew up writing letters, licking a stamp and waiting days on end for a letter back from my grandparents. So, the idea of instantaneous written communication via email immediately appealed to me. Sure, I could’ve faxed someone if I’d invested in a fax machine back when they came out – but even if I had, no one else I knew had access to a fax so it would have been a futile effort anyway.

Today, the increasing use of computers means I can keep up with correspondence much easier than ever before. I can work on a report, send it to a collegue, have that person make comments and send it back – all in a matter of minutes. We can even track changes and make comments in the document itself. How cool is that?! For those of us who remember back when that wasn’t possible from the comfort of our homes, it’s very cool.

Email is a standard for anyone working online. Sometimes it works out to use a web-based email, but more often, it’s much more convenient to have an email account that offers both web-based functions as well as POP3 Access. POP, which stands for Post Office Protocol, is used by email clients (like Outlook, Thunderbird and Eudora) to collect email off from the server for you. Not a big deal if you have one email account to check every day, but a real stress reliever if you have multiple email accounts to check. I first began using an email client back in the days of dial-up because then I could get online, download all my email and then log off and read and respond at my leisure – only logging back on to send out email that I’d accumulated in my “outbox.”

Today, I cannot imagine having to manage all of my personal and business email accounts without having a client that’s reliable and customizable to meet my needs. I’ve been using the same email client for so long that I’ve gotten myself in a rut and I’m ready to get out and explore my options once more. My satellite ISP service has made some recent changes so I’m going to take the dreaded task of having to update all of the email accounts in Outlook as an opportunity to make some much-needed changes. Either way, the work has to be done so I might as well kill as many birds as I can with my stone. (For the record – it’s just an expression – I feed hummingbirds, have a bird bath in my yard and even coat pine cones with peanut butter and seeds to hang on trees in the winter so that the sweet little birdies have a delightful treat).

I’ve gone and downloaded the lastest version of Thunderbird and Eudora to compare and I’ll be writing about that more in a later post. Right now I need to go and write my grandma a letter to send in tomorrow’s snail mail. She’s one of the few folks left in the world who has never had nor ever will have a computer to lean on.