As health services officials confirm more Covid-19 in the U.S., an increasingly large number of American companies are mandating their employees to work from their homes.
Luckily the ubiquity of smart mobile devices and the fact that many of the business apps are available as cloud-based services, businesses can transition the bulk of their scheduled work from their office to home settings much faster and relatively quickly.
That said, businesses should aim to be as efficient as possible while their team of employees works from home. And with coronavirus raging on, efficiency in remote working will be critical to many businesses staying afloat. Herein are the top tips for companies to follow to make working remotely easier and straightforward.
Top tips and tech for working remotely amid coronavirus:
Get Your Home Wi-Fi In Order
With most devices connecting wirelessly, your Wi-Fi performance will influence your overall experience working from home. With numerous devices competing for throughput on your home internet network, there is a possibility of your network developing internal traffic issues, causing a downgrade in network performance. Such an experience will undoubtedly affect your overall experience.
If you have been using the same router for the five or more years, this is prime time for an upgrade. A newer router that offers tri-band or, at the very least, dual-band wireless networks work best. Newer router with mullet-band capabilities can segment your home wireless network into networks – 5 GHz and 2.4GHz.
The 5GHz network is a more robust, broader, and, importantly, faster wireless band. It experiences less interference, making it perfectly suitable for teleconferencing, accessing business applications, and transferring large files.
It is important to note that newer Wi-Fi routers tend to have better negotiation capabilities for wireless throughput usage for the various devices accessing your home network. Such routers allow users to prioritize the throughput for a particular device.
If you are not up for a router upgrade, consider optimizing the router’s firmware. Whether your router is new or old, check the software to ensure you have the latest firmware, and everything is configured to run as you expect it to. If there are any updates available, download and update the router. It will minimize any security vulnerabilities you might have in your network.
Boost Your Internet
The type of service and the level of service you buy will influence how fast or slow your internet connection will be.
Check the level of service you currently receive from your ISP, especially if you do not have this information. You should enquire about your plan’s download and upload speeds, especially if you were teleconferencing a lot, sending or receiving large files, video editing, or engaging in bandwidth-intensive internet usage.
If you will use more bandwidth as you work from home, it is the best time to renegotiate your internet service plan. In a recent announcement, AT&T said that it would temporarily halt broadband service capping for all its customers as more employees switch to remote working.
Secure Your Home Network
Ensure all your devices that access your home network, especially the ones you use for business, have the latest software updates. Software updates typically contain essential security patches. Additionally, update all the anti-virus software in all of your devices.
Along with updating your devices and security software, you should connect your router to a VPN. Having a network-wide VPN setup encrypts your data, ensuring it is impossible for cyber criminals to steal and use against you.
Buy A USB Hub Or Dock
Many people who use desktop PCs at home might have a complete computer set up. Desktops manufacturers tend to design them to be more powerful than laptops, with the ability to connect to more displays and higher connectivity options. That said, it is still essential to ensure that your desktop computer can access the corporate resources you will be using daily. If it cannot access, you should ask for permission or result in using a company-issued computer, typically a laptop.
There lies another problem you might have to solve. Most modern laptops such as the MacBook Pro, Dell XPS 13, or any other brand or model come with limited ports. If your company-issued laptop has one or more Thunderbolt 3 ports, you work around this problem. Using a USB hub or dock, you can increase its connectivity and set up the laptop for multiple displays that improve your multitasking capabilities and much more.
If your laptop does not have a Thunderbolt 3 port and uses USB-C ports, you should purchase a hub. A USB-C hub will give you multiple USB-A ports that you can connect to a mouse, an external hard drive, or even an HDMI for your displays. However, you will have to deal with fewer port numbers and poor display resolution.
A Thunderbolt 3 port (bearing a Thunderbolt logo) offers a considerably higher number of options. You get up to two 4K displays at 60Hz. USB-C is limited to two 1080p displays. A Thunderbolt port also allows you to daisy-chain accessories or monitors together for up six devices.
Buy A Suitable Monitor
As you have seen from the above tip, you can easily connect multiple displays to your laptop. There is little more you can do that will have an immediate impact on your productivity than using the right screens. Connect two 4K monitors to spanning 27 inches or more to your laptop, and you improve your productivity tremendously.
The good things when you have a laptop, you also have an endless amount of options on how you can set up your gear. You can prop the laptop on a stand, or you can use a vertical laptop stand for that ultra-clean look.
You will need to learn how Windows 10 or Mac works in implementing multiple displays or splitting screens. If your display has built-in applications or tools for splitting the screen real estate, ensure you know how to use it as it will make multitasking much easier.
Get The Right Headset And Webcam
Given that you have to communicate and collaborate with your work colleagues while at home, you can rest assured that you will make more video calls. As such, you need to invest in a good webcam and a pair of high-quality headset for a comfortable experience. Your built-in webcam and pair of basic headphones will suffice for some users. However, if you are planning to upgrade your experience, purchase a pair of a high-quality headset and a webcam, more so if you have a large screen or two.
Upgrade Your Mouse And Keyboard As Well
To improve your efficiency, you should upgrade your mouse and keyboard. External versions of these input devices are more robust and versatile than the built-in versions that a laptop comes with. Importantly, they are ergonomically designed, making them more comfortable to use for long periods.
There are numerous options for mechanical keyboards, both for gaming and for typing purposes. However, ensure the typing noise does not affect your roommates or family.
All things considered, we hope these work-at-home tech and tips help to make your experience a more productive and comfortable one. Importantly, stay happy and healthy while at home.