As we come to grips with the seriousness of COVID-19, many organisations are taking the decision to provide their employees with the tools to work from home.
While a number of the employees may already have a home-based network setup that they use for surfing the Net, streaming movies and programmes, Internet banking, online shopping and gaming, it may just not fit the bill for the Small Office Home Office (SOHO).
Andre Kannemeyer, CTO at Duxbury Networking offers some tips that will helpful in improving the work-from-home situation.
“Gone are the brief face-to-face syncs with a colleague or a quick impromptu meeting with your team. To remain effective, you need to prepare your virtual connection to be able to work worry-free. The last thing you want is to experience buffering during an important video conference call as multiple household devices compete for bandwidth. Or the inability to download work files because the family is streaming a 4K movie. Having flawless network connectivity will prove to be crucial to your overall work from home experience,” said Kannemeyer.
1. Have a dedicated workspace
Creating an environment that you’re comfortable to work in is an important part of working from home. If possible, a room dedicated for a home office would be ideal, but if that’s isn’t feasible, dedicating a workstation where you can easily have your laptop or computer stationed along with any office supplies like notepads, pens, sticky notes, and other supplies will prove important.
2. Minimise distractions
TVs. Kids. Pets. Phones. All are common distractions when you’re at home under normal circumstances, and in the context of telecommuting they can really hurt productivity. Make it a point to take a break from time to time, to check in on your loved ones.
If you need to block out some of the noise, invest in some good noise-cancelling headphones. Some popular ones include the AirPods Pro, which are favoured because of size and they’re discreet as well as over-the-ear headphones like the Bose QuietComfort.
3. Keep working normal hours and routines
For newcomers to the concept of working from home, it’s important to try to keep working hours and/or routines similar to those you keep when going into the office.
4. Max-out your Wi-Fi capabilities
Wi-Fi environments can get pretty complex with a large, growing number of devices connected to our home networks. At the very least you want to make sure your network is running Wi-Fi 5 (AC).
With a Wi-Fi 6 router, overloading your Wi-Fi with multiple devices becomes an afterthought. By being able to handle even more connected capacity than ever before, you can be assured that your work laptop won’t suffer any connectivity issues or slow speeds being one of many devices on your network.
For larger or multi-level homes that experience Wi-Fi dead zones, a recommended solution is using a Mesh Wi-Fi system to blanket your home with better Wi-Fi coverage.
Mesh Wi-Fi systems like Orbi Pro and Orbi Wi-Fi Mesh Systems, Nighthawk Mesh systems and advanced Wi-Fi Mesh Range Extenders will help evenly distribute Wi-Fi throughout your home to all of your connected devices via a router and satellite(s). Mesh Wi-Fi also helps you to unchain from your desk.
If you truly need a personal Wi-Fi connection strictly for your work laptop, a mobile router is a great option.
Offering broadband speeds, mobile routers and hotspots will give you access to the fastest speeds available on the mobile network in your area.
With its flexibility, you can easily take it on the go and work remote at your favorite cafe, restaurant, or even at the park, all without missing a beat.
5. Plug-in to Ethernet if you can
Even though modern Wi-Fi 6 and Mesh Wi-Fi are extremely fast and reliable, a hard-wired connection is still a great way to get a good connection.
You can also help improve your Wi-Fi situation by removing certain devices off Wi-Fi to clear the airwaves for the devices that absolutely need it, such as tablets and laptops.
In addition to an uplink port for your modem, most routers have 1-4 additional Ethernet ports. If your ports happen to be occupied by devices like a TV, streaming device, gaming console, printer, or ReadyNAS, you can easily expand your port count with an Ethernet switch.
6. Use a VPN and take measures to keep data safer
A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a special encrypted link between computers, specifically your’s and your employer’s, when in a working from home (WFH) situation.
To make sure you have access to all the right tools you need to work productively, we recommend working with your IT team to ensure your work laptop or home computer is properly setup with your company’s VPN.
For additional security when working from home, NETGEAR Armor-enabled routers provide cyber threat security by monitoring and protecting your entire home network.
With cybersecurity built into your router, this ensures that all of your devices connected to Wi-Fi – laptops, tablets, smart speakers, thermostats, lights, locks, appliances, etc. – are all protected.
As the number of connected devices grow in your home, the potential number of vulnerabilities grow as well. Armor will help protect your network with regular vulnerability scans, while also providing you with a Protection Level score and recommendations to improve that score, all through the Armor management app.
When connected to the Internet, whether your kids are doing research for their homework or you’re combing through your work email, Armor will protect you from any malware attacks, phishing attempts, malicious URLs, and more.
With advanced security from Armor, you can have peace of mind that your home will be protected and that you can work from home without any potential distractions from cyber threats.
For more information contact Duxbury Networking, +27 (0) 11 351 9800, [email protected],
This article was published in partnership with Duxbury Networking.