7 Simple Tips that Can Help Working From Home Easier During these Uncertain Times
With the unforeseen impact that Covid-19 is having on most of our lives and the overwhelming majority of employees now working from home, I thought I would share a few tips for working home that may be helpful as we all get used to this new normal. Some of these tips I have gathered in my career from leading teams that were majority home-based. Some are probably pretty obvious, but I hope they help some of you out…
- Bandwidth: We’re in a bit of unique situation of not just one person working from home but entire families. Some people (like myself) are eating up their bandwidth while at home. One way to check how much bandwidth you have is to run https://www.speedtest.net. You’ll notice that in pretty much all homes and ISP plans you have much more download bandwidth than upload in my case 75 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up). If you start having multiple people video streaming you can easily saturate your uplink speed (if you’re at 10 Mbps or less like me). You can always move up to a more expensive ISP package but that’s often not required. You can also try to turn video off for calls, ask the kids to do less streaming when you’re in meetings or if you have the capability on your router you can turn QOS on and prioritize certain connections over others. Another trick is you can turn off email while on a video call so large email attachments coming in don’t clip your voice while they download.
- WIFI: With pretty much the whole world at home you’ll notice a lot more wireless interference than you’re probably used to. More so on older 2.4GHz routers but even in some neighbourhoods on 5GHz. It may just be time to upgrade your router, but you can also try to simply get closer to your router, keep it away from windows and if you can avoid WIFI at all by direct connecting into your router with a wired connection. Obviously stay away from the kitchen while it's being used (the microwave tends to cause a ton of interference when you run it).
- Checking Internet Status: If you’ve done the above but are still having issues, check online to see if your particular ISP is having issues. Over the past few weeks the entire internet has been under massive strain as the majority of us are now working from home. Probably the most strain the internet has ever seen and no doubt there will be issues here and there. You can also check Microsoft and AWS online status at the following links:https://status.office365.com, https://status.azure.com/en-us/status and https://status.aws.amazon.com.
- Stay Connected: Now the above said, as appropriate (if your connection allows), do try to use your webcam for some meetings. It’s a great way to stay connected with colleagues, customers, partners and the like while we are all staying at home. Also, it helps us see reactions during meetings, which is sometimes worth a laugh.
- Office Setup: Don’t forget to set yourself up properly so you don’t end up with a sore back! Even a kitchen table can make a decent temporary office… that’s where I’ve set up shop since my wife got the home office first 😊. If your company allows, try to take monitors home or try to pick up an inexpensive one so that you’re not straining your back looking into a laptop.
- Change Clothes: Consider changing clothes when you are working and then changing into other clothes when you are done as a psychological way to help delineate “work time” from “home time”, which is that much more important when you stay home. We all understand that hours tend to be long and we are “always-on” but it may be a little trick to help you distinguish “work” from “home”.
- Lastly, don’t forget to get some exercise so that you feel better. I’ve noticed my step count way down given I’m leaving the house less. If weather permits take the opportunity to go for a walk or jog “after work” to help decompress, while of course practicing “social distancing”.
To make the transition to working from home a little easier Ribbon recently introduced our Work@Home offering, which allows contact centers and enterprises to shift their operations to alternate locations quickly and efficiently. Enterprises that need to switch their operational model to an all-remote workforce have access to a complete Unified Communications and Collaboration solution with Ribbon’s Smart Office, which provides screensharing, HD video whiteboard, group chat, conferencing and more on both desktop and mobile clients. Fully functional licenses are available from select partners free of charge until June 30, 2020.
We are all adjusting to so many different things, including being part-time teachers for those who have kids who are now being “homeschooled”. So hopefully you will find benefit in some if not all of the suggestions above.
Stay safe, keep practicing social distancing and wash your hands!