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Does it make sense to use laptops for all telecommuters?

It depends on several factors - such as what kind of work they do, how often they work away from the office (and in how many different locations), and budget considerations.

Today's laptops are much improved from even a couple of years ago; they are lighter, the screens are easier to read, and the keyboards are better suited to longer use. But a laptop is still a laptop - what you gain in portability you sacrifice in certain features and ease of use.

That's why many employers provide telecommuters with laptops and give them docking stations (with full-size keyboards and monitors) for their home and also in the office. One advantage of this approach is that several docking stations in the office can serve the needs of a greater number of telecommuters who are only in the office occasionally.

Telecommuters who work on business trips, at client sites, and other locations besides just the home and the central office will generally benefit from using a laptop - if they'll actually make use of it at those different locations. But many such mobile workers seem to spend more time and effort carrying their laptops than actually using them.

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