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:
- Check your router. This is one of the easiest ways to identify and improve internet access and speed. A quality router will improve your wireless performance tremendously, especially if you have multiple people working online from the same home.
- Another good idea is to take a close look at how and when your internet is being shared. With kids attending school online from home and both parents online working too, all that internet use can result in lag time. It’s a good idea for everyone you live with to communicate when they have essential video meetings so you can try to avoid having more than one videoconference simultaneously in your home.
As we head into the winter months here in the Galt, River Delta and great Sacramento area, there are other concerns that might slow down your internet too – but don’t worry, many of these you can handle yourself. Click on the links below to access checklists and pro tips for common internet access issues:
- How Power Outages Affect Internet Access
- How Office Tech Fails – and How to Avoid Them
- What Internet Speed Do I Need?
- 6 Scary Things That Can Slow Your Internet Down
- Internet Not Working? Before You Call, Check This…
#2 Set up your own basic IT support
When you went to the office every day, you probably never had to worry about hardware or computer issues. You may have even had a tech support team right there in your office, ready to help when needed. Obviously, that’s not the case at home. The following tips might seem like little things, but they make a huge difference in supporting a trouble-free working environment.
Surge protectors and cords: Buy surge protectors (not power strips) for your devices. Purchase all the cords you might need for connecting devices, label them and keep close by for quick access and usage.
Backup office supplies: Remember the office supply closet? Build up one of your own at home so you don’t have to steal stuff from the kids. Designate a drawer or shelf for things like extra batteries, charging cables and cords, printer supplies, tripods and light rings, paperclips, etc.
Power Supply: An extended power outage can cause a big disruption in your work. Having a backup power option is a fantastic tool for home offices and much more affordable in today’s market.
Headsets: Those earbuds that came with your phone are ok for simple calls, but if your work calls for lots of video conferences, consider investing in a noise-cancelling headset. Believe us, it makes a difference. There’s nothing that will get more laughs, or make you look more unprofessional, than hearing things like toilets flushing or dogs barking in the background.
Backups and Storage: Backing up your files in a cloud or online platform can save a lot of headaches in the event of a technical emergency. Alternatively, use an external desktop hard drive for all your backup needs. Here’s a great article for more information: How to Prepare for a Digital Disaster
#3 Maintain tech housekeeping
Just like you need to regularly clean the house, you should also keep up on your tech housekeeping chores. If it gets in the way of your regular work, make it a habit to take one hour on the weekend or evenings, once a week, to do things like check for software updates, restart your machines, uninstall unused programs, make sure your backup systems are running, and update antivirus protection.
#4: Practice security-mindedness
In many ways, you are in charge of your own security now. Check out these resources and articles we’ve shared in the past for safe security practices you should be following:
- How to tell if you’re a victim of a phishing scam and what to do
- How to create strong passwords
- How to keep your family safe on the internet
- Signs you may have been hacked – and what to do next
- How to protect your home wireless networks
- How encrypted internet servers can support internet browsing privacy
#5: Know who to turn to for help
Everyone needs some help from time to time. Have a list you can easily access of who you can call for specific situations. Issues seem to happen at the worst times, and it will help if you can quickly find the contact information for the right tech service at a moment’s notice. That way, when problems do happen, you can take quick action for hopefully quick results.
#6: And finally…
Save often. When nothing else works, reboot (turn power off, then back on). And call us for any internet access issues, router information, or home office setup advice at (800) 982-7675, option 1.