The Way We Work
September 29, 2009 by Tamara Rice

At oDesk headquarters in Menlo Park, California, every Tuesday is a WFHT, and technology is the key ingredient that makes this system work. So we thought it was time to address the various modes of modern communication, creation and collaboration.

Which of these tech gadgets are your tech gadgets?

From largest to smallest …


COPY MACHINE: An Oldie But a Goodie
Best –
If used sparingly and combined with a printer or fax.
Worst – If you have an old dinosaur that needs upkeep.
Needed – If you consistently need massive amounts of copies.

FAX MACHINE: It’s Come a Long Way
Best – If you aren’t paying for an extra phone line.
Worst – If you are still using rolls of paper (say it ain’t so).
Needed – When a potential client says: “Can I fax you this?”

PRINTER: A Necessary Evil
Best – If you can hit “print” from any room in the house.
Worst – If your ink costs as much as your electric bill.
Needed – For contracts, tax papers, etc.


COMPUTER: The Crucial Ingredient
Best – If you still have it under warranty (or are a tech wiz).
Worst – If it has a virus or takes 15 minutes to boot.
Needed – Are you kidding?

LAPTOP: Priceless
Best – When it’s light, fast and new.
Worst – If it weighs as much as your microwave.
Needed – When you have to be able to work from various locations.

MINI: A Tiny Luxury
Best – If you work on the go … really on the go.
Worst – If you blog, work on large pdf files or have carpel tunnel syndrome.
Needed – When you can’t lug around a laptop (or can’t afford one).


PDA: Palmtop Computer
Best – Maybe not.
Worst – If it’s the size of a Dan Brown novel.
Needed – In 1999.

Best – If you know how to use it.
Worst – If you don’t.
Needed – For those who need Internet access at all times.

HEADSET: Hands Free Talking
Best – If it’s comfortable and gets good reception.
Worst – If it’s so small you can’t find it when you need it.
Needed – If the telephone takes up more than 20% of your work day.

WFHT Recommended Reading
Home Office Essentials” from
Tips for Home Office Technology” from Fast Company Blog
The Technology Every Freelancer Needs” from Freelance Directory
Choosing a PC Pt. 1” from Freelance: UK


Much like a divorced marriage counselor, my ability to dish out advice is not an indicator of my ability to implement it. However, having worked from home for over a decade, I’ve learned what works and what just creates more work.

– Tamara

Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.