Working from home sounds like a dream but there may be a few internet related nightmares to navigate en-route to nirvana.
Internet Connection Quality
Internet connectivity, previously intended for browsing, staying connected and streaming during downtime, suddenly needs to cope with your daily workload and buffering and dropouts will hinder your productivity. A download speed of 25 Mbps or higher is desirable for multiple internet users. Simple steps are to place the router centrally in your home, ensure it’s up to date with the latest firmware and upgrade to a newer model if necessary. It may also be useful to upgrade your broadband package or invest in a mesh Wi-Fi system. Also, avoid too many devices running simultaneously, which leads us to the next point to consider………
Other peoples impact on internet connectivity
Many of us share our homes and need to factor others into our new working strategy. If part of a couple, or a house share of several professional adults, all reliant on internet connectivity for work, it makes sense to plan ahead. For instance, if one of you has a conference call scheduled, requiring more data, others could plan to work offline or take a break at that time. Or if contending with children using the internet for homeschooling and entertainment, you could separate work and home internet traffic. With a dedicated SSID for each person and applying bandwidth restrictions could avoid you dropping out of a virtual meeting at a crucial moment as a Disney film is playing in the next room. Noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds could be another wise investment to help keep you focused.
Suddenly there’s no IT department to call upon, and some issues may require more than a simple switch off and back on again approach. Improving Broadband and avoiding gadget overload will help. And, the internet is a great source for solutions but also consider in advance who you’ll call for tech help in an emergency.
Social media, internet shopping, tv shows, games and books are all just a button press away when you’re working from home. The best way to avoid falling down the rabbit hole is to switch off all notifications and allocate yourself timed breaks, when you can fully embrace your chosen distraction and properly switch off from work.
Stick to your company’s collaboration tools for communication such as instant messaging and video meetings. If tempted to download a substitute you could inadvertently introduce software with a security flaw, providing cybercriminals with access to company and personal data. Also, be sure to keep up to date with software update reminders. Keep VPN turned on to protect the data you send and receive and be alert to phishing e-mails. Some currently doing the rounds are coronavirus themed.
The flexibility of laptop home working may make curling up in bed or on the sofa very tempting. But it won’t do you any favours in the long run. To avoid sustaining back, neck, wrist and eye strain it’s best to establish a proper work area at home. With desk or table space and an appropriate chair.
A final note for employers and managers; employees and team members may not be having the easy ride they hoped home working would be. They’ll be dealing with varying home circumstances, technical abilities and connection strengths. They may need a little extra support or leniency here and there as they navigate their way through rapidly changing work patterns in a rapidly changing world. And that goes for you too. Be kind.
Simpson Dean are big supporters of working from home and look for dynamic and flexible positions and candidates.
Without the cloud, this period of unrest would have been a completely different experience for businesses. Find out more about the cloud, and it’s importance in remote working here.