Technology tips for working from home long-term

Like many others around the world, we’ve been working from home for eight months or more due to the pandemic and it doesn’t look like that will end soon. Most Americans working from home have created office spaces that provide the tools and tech they need, but without the professional IT staff on call they are used to.

Since it looks like working from home will continue for quite some time, learning how to become your own tech support will go a long way toward keeping your stress level down and your productivity up. With that in mind, here are a few tips from IT pros and experienced WFH professionals that all remote workers should know.

#1: WiFi is really, really important

If you’re working online every day, you must have internet service you can rely on. There’s nothing more frustrating, or anti-productive, as the inability to connect and communicate with your coworkers, colleagues or clients. Secure and stable access to the internet is essential for most all businesses to keep running. Here are a few tips for making sure your internet is up to speed:

Kristy CooperTechnology tips for working from home long-term
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Tips for safe holiday travel during the COVID-19 pandemic

If you’ve been sheltering at home during the pandemic but are now planning to travel for the holiday season, things have changed a lot. COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions vary from place to place. Whether you’re visiting family members just a few towns away, or making flight plans for travels far away, there’s always been a risk of getting sick, but this year is extra risky due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One upside is that the number of people traveling this season will probably be considerably less than last year. While airlines are still operating, and the number of people traveling is slowly increasing, many people are choosing to stay home out of an abundance of caution this year. Transportation companies such as airlines have also set in place rigorous cleaning protocols that make it cleaner than ever to use their facilities.

Kristy CooperTips for safe holiday travel during the COVID-19 pandemic
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2020 Holiday Gift Guide

Just like the rest of this year, the holidays are lining up to be very different than in the past. Socially-distanced celebrations might be hard to get used to, but what we can rely on is the spirit of the season. Gift giving is always nice, and we’ve created a list of ideas that we think uniquely fit the new challenges and lifestyles that the pandemic has created. Another holiday favorite, volunteering, doesn’t have to take a back seat due to COVID-19 restriction. Virtual volunteering is alive and well and there are a lot of options to spread holiday cheer.

Giving Back / Volunteering

#VirtualVolunteering is trending on social media these days, showing that the idea of giving back during the holidays is just as alive as well as always. If you have a favorite charity or organization that you usually volunteer for, give them a call to find out how you can help. Even though in-person volunteering might not be an option, most organizations still need equipment, funds and resources to continue their work. Much of this can be done from home and is a great way to bring close family together.

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How COVID-19 is affecting internet availability for work and school at home

As more people rely on their home internet for work, school, shopping, and socializing due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not surprising that internet usage rates have dramatically increased, along with the amount of data to support everyone doing, well, everything. Unfortunately, one way that many internet service providers have chosen to deal with this increased usage is to reinstate data caps for their customers.

What are data caps? It’s when an internet provider limits how much data subscribers can use each month – putting a “cap” on how much they are allowed according to their plan.

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What NOT to post on social media to protect your security

Many people love to share highlights of their lives through social media, including daily routine updates such as running or hiking, sending kids off to school each day, or laptop working sessions at a favorite coffee shop. Experts say, however, that posting information like this often including hidden information like detailed locations and timelines, opening the door to criminals who can use that information for everything from stalking to robbery to worse.

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How to know if that super-fast, super-cheap home internet offer is too good to be true

We’ve all seen those flyers in the mail from start-up companies offering super-fast internet service at amazing low prices. But the trick is knowing if they really do deliver all that they offer, or if it’s just another too-good-to-be-true gimmick that just doesn’t add up. As long-time providers of high-speed internet service in our area, we hear from our customers from time to time asking about new offers and how they compare to our services. So we thought it would useful to share what you need to know to determine the true value of any internet provider’s offer.

Contract details

The devil is in the details, so the saying goes, and the fine print is often where you’ll find the answers to understand the real value of an internet service provider’s offer. One of the first things to do is check out the Terms of Service or Contract.

Kristy CooperHow to know if that super-fast, super-cheap home internet offer is too good to be true
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How to safely celebrate the holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic

As much as we’d like coronavirus to disappear by the holidays, it won’t. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still celebrate. According to the CDC and other health experts, the holidays don’t need to be cancelled this year, as long as you follow some simple safety tips like the ones we’ve rounded up here.

Check local regulations

First thing’s first. If you plan on hosting a holiday celebration, we strongly encourage you to check your local COVID-19 regulations to determine whether it’s safe (and legal) to have any type of gathering. Whether you’re planning on a small family gathering at home, or a larger socially-distanced event in an outdoor space, it’s good to know your local mandates to plan responsibly.

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New cutting-edge equipment to expand services, coverage and speed

We’ve been busy behind the scenes here at Softcom for the last few months integrating cutting-edge Ericsson LTE equipment into our network that we are confident will be game-changing when it comes to internet service, coverage, speed and reliability for our customers and community.

Ericsson is recognized as one of the world’s leading providers of information and communication technology for service providers. Their technology and services are trusted by our nation’s top telecommunications companies and valued for their consistent success in a fully connected world. During the last few months here at Softcom, we have been working diligently to thoroughly test and integrate the equipment necessary to deploy Ericsson equipment, investing in our technology and in our ability to remain one of the best rural internet service providers in Galt, Herald, Wilton, Acampo, the River Delta, and the surrounding communities.

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What to expect when voting this year

For the first time in history, more than 20 million mail-in voting ballots are being sent out to California votes this year, just one of the many changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your vote counts.

Register to vote: If you haven’t registered to vote, there’s still time. State law requires registration 15 days before an election, however there are options for same-day registration as well. See all the details and register to vote here: https://registertovote.ca.gov/

Not sure if you’re registered to vote? You can check here: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/

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How to use technology to lessen work-life stress

In an age where technology has given us so many “shortcuts” to make life easier, why do we all feel so stressed? Take one pandemic, add in difficulties adjusting to work, school and life at home, and that equals a whole lot of anxiety. The main reason for these problems, though, doesn’t always lie in the technology, but in the way – or how much – it’s being used.

For example, a study from Common Sense Media shows that smart phones, something designed to give people more “freedom,” actually rarely leave our sides – even at night! According to the study (pdf link), a third of teens actually sleep with their devices — girls more than boys, according to findings (PDF) in The New Normal: Parents, Teens, Screens, and Sleep in the United States. Parents aren’t better, with 62% keeping phones in reach of their bed.

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