Around the world, millions of people have been asked to stay at home in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. As social distancing becomes the new norm so does the implementation of remote working policies. Queue coronavirus-related phishing attacks that, according to the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), are on the rise as scammers start to seek opportunities. Here are a handful of useful tips to help set up a secure home office and work effectively. No, the TV really shouldn’t be on.
Prepare your home’s internet connectivity
The basis for any effective home office set-up undoubtedly starts with a fast and secure internet connection. For those working in large serviced buildings with free Wi-Fi, beware. These networks often don’t require a password. Alarm bells should be ringing here. The increase in volumes of users may also cause issues. Installations should be best positioned for optimal Wi-Fi strength. Try connecting via cable for better Wi-Fi coverage. If you have a weak connection don’t incorporate any new or additional smart devices. The router needs to have radios that are compatible with Thread, Z-Wave, 6LowPAN, and Bluetooth Low Energy, among other modern communication technologies.
Energy proof your home
This includes limiting the amount of internet sucking devices you use at a given time and overloading the network. Don’t be that person that stops others from urgently accessing the server. It also involves you switching off your computer monitor when you know you will spend a long period away from it. Leaving laptop, phones, or tablets chargers plugged, should be a big no-no in general.
Ensure a high security standard
Working from home does not come without its risks. It is not just about minimising fallout by using a company supplied VPN, keeping your encryption tools and anti-virus and security software updated and locking your screen if you are working in a shared space, it’s also thinking twice before printing confidential information at home and making sure you know what security breaches are the most likely to put user data and the integrity of the system in jeopardy.
Health is wealth
Remote working should not be to the detriment of our well-being. In fact, the new set-up should very much be trying to preserve it. Establishing structures to stay active and healthy will boost overall productivity. This includes things like setting up a schedule to separate your work hours from your chill time. A routine is paramount. It also means exercising regularly (no one said anything about Jane Fonda, deep breaths). By investing time in fitness, you are going to increase your energy levels. Consider a home gym set-up if your local center is closed or a couple of books as dumbbells with your new friend: YouTube. You also need to fuel that powerful brain to achieve better focus. Enter healthy foods stage left.
Clearly define goals
This point is not just for remote workers however adapting to a new environment can be tricky. What comes as second nature in the workplace can often be forgotten when teleworking for the first time. The 4Ps springs to mind here: Poor Planning leads to Poor Performance. Managing tasks effectively means clearly defining those all-important goals. Lock-down doesn’t mean shutdown so find out what needs to be achieved each day and get cracking. The competition won’t be sleeping so why should you just because you are working remotely? Sifting through and distinguishing what is high priority and what isn’t can help gain that all-important clarity. Don’t forget to delegate where needed.
Remote work although gratefully increasing flexibility, can also lead to procrastination particularly with that dreadful rabbit hole that is social media. Removing disturbances either by blocking an app on your phone or iPad or simply putting the device out of reach temporarily will help you stay on track. The same goes for family members who may be working from home too. For those particularly susceptible to ambient noise, might we suggest earplugs? A personal favorite and particularly underrated. Noise cancelling headphones might also be worth purchasing. If things get tough why not lean on team members for accountability?
Leverage the appropriate technology
Teleworking means confidently and unapologetically enforcing the use of adequate software tools. That means actually investing in high functioning and secure technology that is going to optimise rather than lead to the demise of your current workflows. Adopting cheap inefficient products does not only suck the time but also the mental will of workers. No thank you. Some important tools worth considering include appropriate data file sharing and storage systems. This can reduce pressure on company servers and make data easily accessible to the required teams. Companies can have better control over who accesses what. Issues with document formats are often reduced and many providers enable access via a range of devices e.g. Browser, App, Mobile etc. It can also mean clear folder systems. Generic file sharing and storage options can help you get started but for a more complete and secure set-up, specialised services may be better suited. Discover our virtual data room solution here and try it for free for one month.
Verbal everyday communication is important for corporate success. Although face-to-face and in-person meetings is problematic, home office doesn’t have to greatly reduce that much needed interaction with colleagues. Team discussions and check-ins with co-workers on a regular basis using the right equipment such as the likes of Skype for Business, Zoom or Facetime is recommended. It goes without saying that before meetings do take place a well-defined agenda should be communicated.
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