Make Home Working Work

Published: 11 May 2020

Before lockdown, only 17% of employees regularly worked from home, according to Lifeline IT’s own research.

Yet now the majority of workers are doing just that, sharing broadband with families/household members who are also home working/schooling. The result of this sudden overload is reduced connectivity speeds, which can affect your ability to work effectively.

We look at some of the key challenges and what you can do to help solve them.

Boost Connectivity

Try moving your wireless router – keep it away from thick walls, big pieces of metal – such as refrigerators or microwaves – and make sure it’s not in a cupboard or behind a TV. Wi-Fi also doesn’t like being near lots of water, so keep it away from fish tanks/aquariums. If it’s practical, try moving your router to a more central location by running a longer cable from the wall position.

Turning Wi-Fi off when you’re on lunch/taking a break and then re-starting your wireless access afterwards may help you find the channel with least interference, especially if your Wi-Fi hasn’t been re-started for some time. Turning off the Wi-Fi on your laptop when you’re not working can also help.

Upgrade Your Tools

Old laptops/PCs can slow down performance. If you’re working on an old machine, it’s worth considering upgrading or seeing if your employer has a more up-to-date one you can work on. The same goes for software – try and run up-to-date versions. A business license for packages such as Microsoft Office often allows companies to install it on employees’ devices at home, if the software is being used for work purposes.

Sharing Resources

If there are several of you in the same household, consider a ‘rota’ for using the internet for downloading/uploading so the system doesn’t get overworked. Video conferencing (Zoom, Chime etc), online classroom resources and gaming will all drain your internet speed so stagger usage. Maybe consider a second internet connection solely for work-based use.

If you have lots of devices competing for signal, such as a smart TV or PlayStation, turn them off in the daytime. And with smartphones, try and use your mobile network rather than the home internet if you can.

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