Working Remotely: 5 Tech Tips for Small Business Employees
It’s 2021 and the trend of work from home is only expected to increase.
You’ll avoid stressful traffic, keep a flexible schedule, and achieve greater productivity just by clocking in at home.
But on the technology side, no one enjoys the added stress (and risk) of being their own IT support.
At the office, you’re not responsible for your own tech issues, and in-person IT help is usually just a phone call away. But once you switch over to working remotely, you need to have your technology in order to prevent downtime and distraction.
In this article, we cover five actionable tech tips for remote workers at small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in South Africa. These are simple and easy ways to keep your technology running smoothly.
Let’s get started:
(1) Boost Your Bandwidth
Are things running slowly when you’re online?
Bandwidth determines how quickly data is transmitted. You might have enough bandwidth for web browsing, but not enough to download files from the Company Intranet without inordinate delay.
And if speeds fluctuate throughout the day, you likely have a bandwidth problem.
Bandwidth is divided between devices. The more devices connected concurrently on your home network, the slower it gets for everyone. Along with computers, this includes wireless printers, smartphones, tablets, and even video game consoles. Disconnect other devices from the network if the speed drops interfere with your remote work.
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(2) Speed Test and Experiment with Your Home-Office Location
When it comes to internet speed and stability, also consider your home-office location as it’s likely having an impact. The MyBroadBand Speed Test is a free and simple way of quantifying your connectivity in less than a minute.
If you’re on Wi-Fi, try relocating your computer physically closer to the router. The closer you are, the faster and more reliable internet connectivity becomes. Better yet, use an ethernet cable and connect to the router directly. Also keep in mind that microwave ovens, cordless telephones, and baby monitors interfere with Wi-Fi. Try increasing the distance of these devices to your router or unplug them when not in use.
If you’re using a USB dongle, connection strength largely depends on cellphone tower signal. Test your internet speed at different locations in your house. Proximity to trees, tall buildings, thick walls, and hills will drop speeds and stability considerably.
In severe cases, contact your ISP as there might be a technical fault in the area.
(3) Follow Best Practices when Virtual Conferencing
Since the start of lockdown restrictions in 2020, virtual conferencing has rapidly become the staple for remote work. That said, it’s still relatively new – compared to the traditional phone call – and most of us aren’t aware of how to avoid foundational issues.
Here are four best practices to get you started:
- Run a quick test. Before you participate in virtual conferencing, remember to run a quick test first. You can do this easily by practicing with a friend or family member for a minute or two. If you run into problems, try the tips below or investigate other potential issues.
- Restart before a virtual conference. Give your computer a reboot about 20-30 minutes before a virtual conference to flush out unnecessary resources leftover on the system memory. This is emphasized if you’ve used different virtual conferencing platforms (for example, Zoom and MS Teams) before the last reboot.
- Improve sound quality with a headset. Use headphones with a built-in microphone to avoid issues with audio feedback. Most speakers and internal laptop mics generally cause an echo.
- Be mindful of your internet connection. Slow internet that causes freezing or lag is disruptive (and annoying!) for both you and other users. If it’s unneeded, close tabs in your web browser and any software that requires a network connection, such as Outlook and Pastel. Also, check out our tips on bandwidth and home-office location above.
(4) Dedicate Work Devices for Work Only
Although you’re in the comfort of home, electronics used for remote work should remain purely as a “work device.” Sharing with family or friends, especially children, may jeopardize the device and your data in various ways.
For example, a friend checks their Gmail on your laptop and mistakenly downloads a ransomware attachment. The virus not only locks your computer but spreads to the company network and infects other employees.
Likewise, avoid unrelated apps and software on work devices. Business computers, for instance, aren’t designed to handle modern gaming or video editing and will be stressed quickly, resulting in reduced lifespan and the possibility of crashing. Whilst on smartphones and tablets, apps are the main drivers of performance issues such as poor battery life and lagging.
In short, keep work devices for work only to maintain their cybersecurity, performance, and lifespan.
(5) Run Updates At Least Monthly
According to IT experts, don’t delay software updates for more than a month. Software that is patched and up to date is vital for not only cybersecurity but also for boosting performance and avoiding glitches – a must for remote workers serious about their uptime and productivity.
This includes your computer’s OS (such as Windows 10), anti-virus software, Microsoft Office, Google Chrome, TeamViewer, and any niche business applications, such as AutoCAD, SAP, Adobe Photoshop, etc.
It’s best to run updates over the weekend as it may take longer than expected.
Need to Optimize Remote Work for Your Small Business Employees?
iSite Computers is here to help.
We are a managed IT services company in South Africa, specializing in helping SMBs minimize their downtime and improve business productivity via end-to-end IT services.
Whether you need cybersecurity solutions to protect your business whilst your employees work from home, or strategic consults to support the changing IT environment, get in touch with iSite Computers today.