Working From Home? It's Time To Rethink Your Home Setup
Wherever you’re reading this, it’s likely that working from home is likely to be your reality for the foreseeable future. Until the COVID-19 infection curve is flattened and the pandemic quelled, most of us are going to have to get used to a new way of working. Of course, if you’re already a freelancer or self-employed you’ll be well prepared for the practicalities of working from home. Those new to remote working, however, will likely be experiencing some friction as they adapt to the realities of using a home network for business use.
With children out of school and spouses also working remotely, households’ demands on their networks have increased exponentially. Moreover, this has placed significant strain on broadband infrastructures in areas where there has been significant under investment.
The reality is that your productivity is intrinsically tied to your internet connection. Remote workers can lose up to 40 minutes a day to a slow internet connection. Whatever you’re doing from home, it behoves you to ask yourself some serious questions about your home’s current broadband provision...
Can your current provider cope?
In light of the current pandemic, telecoms watchdog Ofcom has encouraged all remote workers to rethink their current home broadband, both in terms of their home and mobile provision. All over the world, countries are concerned that their aging broadband infrastructures will be unable to cope with the sustained rise in demand.
With more users relying on their broadband to work as well as keeping themselves entertained by streaming and downloading all kinds of multimedia content, providers have never faced such a strain on the services they provide. Take a look at your provider’s website and find out what they’re doing to provide continuity and quality of service.
Will you get the speed you need?
With the whole household potentially using the internet at the same time, will you get the speed and responsibility you need to carry out your duties as you would in the office? If you’re currently using a copper wire connection, the reality is… probably not.
Not only are fibre broadband connections faster and more reliable, their infrastructures are newer and better maintained. If you’re able to upgrade to fibre broadband at this time, it’s highly recommended.
How will you maintain security at home?
Working from home raises certain security considerations. Workplaces invest heavily in their digital and physical security infrastructures to protect their data. Home networks, however, lack many of the security safeguards put in place by companies. If you routinely handle sensitive data and want to keep it secure over your wireless network, you should consider swapping your current router to a DD-WRT router. These use a different kind of operating system and have a range of security benefits. They offer the ability to use multiple SSIDs and VLANS as well as Port Forwarding and the ability to route traffic through a VPN automatically.
They offer a faster, more reliable and more secure connection whatever your provider may be.
Can you get a wired connection to your router?
It’s unlikely that you’ll be at your most productive using a wireless router. Even a high-quality Wifi 6 router pales in comparison to a wired connection. Why is a wired connection so much faster than its wireless counterpart? This video by TechQuickie does a good job of explaining it in just over 5 minutes.
Wired connections cannot be weighed down with traffic from multiple devices at the same time like Wifi connections can. They offer much more consistent speeds with less chance of performance interruption (which can lead to productivity and data loss).
Should you establish usage rules during working hours?
If you’re unable to change your broadband provision at this time, you might want to consider implementing rules for the rest of the family during your working hours. This can lighten the load on your network and allow you to maintain peak productivity.
This might be a great opportunity for your family to rediscover the benefits of physical media and non-digital games and pastimes which have kept us entertained for generations before we relied on the digital realm to keep us entertained.
Do you also need to rethink your phone tariff?
Finally, as well as rethinking your broadband provision, you should certainly consider rethinking your phone tariff. Making numerous outbound calls for work can become very costly for most home tariffs. Consider upgrading to something that offers unlimited calls, at least while you’re likely to be working from home.