As the impact of COVID-19 unfolds around the world, many employers and senior managers face an unprecedented challenge: how to ensure optimum business productivity and output with a remote workforce. Having employees working from home will positively contribute to flattening the curve of the virus transmission, but it will also have a profound impact on how employers and managers engage with their staff, and keep their businesses operating.
Technology is critical to this success, but suddenly the burden of staying connected will shift from large, commercial grade, highly engineered office and school networks, to smaller, consumer broadband connections. Like toilet paper, the demand for home internet bandwidth will soar overnight placing increased strain on our home networks.
Partners of Veracity are already ahead of the game. Your investment in cloud-based IT platforms is paying off, delivering anytime anywhere working on any device. And you have the added safety net of 24×7, real-time, remote support capabilities to keep your platforms running.
But it’s critical that your employees have sufficient bandwidth at home to access your platform, and work productively. So, we’ve put together six tips to help your management and staff adjust to working from home and please contact Veracity immediately if you face any other unexpected challenges.
Tip #1: Understand your data plan.
Understand the data limits on your home or mobile internet plans. Major telcos such as Optus, Telstra and Vodafone have recently responded to COVID-19 by providing unlimited home internet plans and additional data to mobile services for a short period.
Use your Internet Service Provider’s (ISPs) usage app or website tool to keep an eye on how much data you’re consuming. This will help you identify the data hungry applications such as Netflix or YouTube video streaming that you and your family may be using without realising how much data you’re consuming.
Check that your actual bandwidth matches what you are being sold by running a speed test. Download a free speedtest application such as Speedtest by Ookla to measure your download and upload speeds. Contact your ISP if you aren’t getting the speeds you expect. This is also a good time to increase or decrease your internet plan to suit your requirements.
Tip #2: Prioritise data consumption.
If you are working from home, your internet connection is likely being shared with multiple other users and devices, some of whom may be using social isolation to binge-watch Netflix or gaming. Prioritise which users and devices are using your internet connection during your working hours. Some home routers can be configured to prioritise devices and services. In addition, most consumer devices have digital wellbeing capabilities such as limiting the amount of YouTube videos your children can watch on their iPads during the day.
Tip #3: Spread data consumption over multiple services
Depending on the speed of your home internet connection and the number of users you share it with, you may have a more productive experience working via a mobile broadband hotspot. However, as per tip #1 it is important to keep an eye on your data consumption as you can quickly hit your data cap.
Tip #4: Limit non-essential use
While people are learning or working from home, data intensive entertainment such as 4K Netflix streaming should take a back seat. You may find that other forms of streaming such as Spotify or Twitch also have an impact on your remote working and learning experience. Avoid large downloads and updates during the working day. It might be a good opportunity to play some of your old DVDs or CDs instead of streaming, if you can find a player. Better still, go retro and dust off your old vinyl.
Tip #5: Check your WiFi coverage
Some home networks don’t have the best WiFi coverage. This is influenced by the quality of your home WiFi router and the structure of your house. Check the WiFi signal strength on your device before starting work. You may need to move closer to your router, or consider using an ethernet cable to connect where possible.
If your router is ageing or not providing good connectivity, it might be time for an upgrade. While everyone else queues for toilet paper, you would do well to shop for a better router.
We would suggest getting a single WiFi router with multiple external antennas such as these from Harvey Norman or JB Hi Fi:
Or purchasing a ‘mesh’ solution that uses multiple access points to create a large WiFi network around your property, such as these:
Tip #6: Stay secure
Finally, it is important to take extra security precautions when working from home, as you may not have the same network security protections that you have at your workplace or school. Only visit trusted sites and be extra vigilant when visiting links received over email or social media. If you are entering passwords, be sure that the website has a ‘https://’ connection and that you are using the correct URL.
If you need more personalised support and advice for maximising your technological advantages for business during this global health crisis, please contact one of the Veracity team today.
Bill Owens — Chief Executive Officer
M 0406 611 341
T 1300 850 172