Dear Lifehacker, I have a small business with one full-time employee and three part time. I have been considering upgrading our Microsoft Office installation. Looking at the newly released options, Office 365 Home Premium would suit us to a tee, but am I breaking the user agreement by using a home-based product in the work place? Thanks, Nervous Licensee
It's easy to see why the Home Premium product is tempting: at $119 a year for five licences, you'd have enough for all your staff and only pay $24 a year per head for the privilege. Sadly (and as I suspect you already realise), the licence conditions for Home Premium state that it can only be used at home. In a single-person business, the truth is that nobody is ever likely to notice how you use the licence. However, with staff, there's always a chance that a disgruntled or naive employee will inadvertently dob you in. Whether you want to take that risk is your choice, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Presuming you want to stick with Office and upgrade, what are your alternatives? Office 365 Small Business Premium costs $13.50 a month, and includes email hosting and 25GB of storage for each user. For your business (four staff in total), that will cost $648. It includes extras you wouldn't get with Home Premium, but it's much more expensive.
If each of your employees has their own computer, then this still may end up a cheaper option. If you only have three machines (one for you, one for the full-timer, and one shared by the part-timer), another potential alternative is to purchase three outright Office Home And Business 2013 licences for $299 each. That will cost you more up front, but you'll be ahead after the second year.
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