Tech tips for remote workers

While many of us have enjoyed working from home and found it to be as productive as working in the office – perhaps even more so in some cases – it does come with challenges, including communication with fellow team members, and IT security.

Lots of us could be working from home for the foreseeable future, or at least a blend of carrying out our duties from home and in the office, so it’s worth knowing some useful tech tips to tackle these challenges and prevent any problems surfacing in the long run. Here are some suggestions:

Watch out for phishing

Since the start of the pandemic, cyber criminals have been using Covid-19 related emails as a way to fool us into clicking or downloading malicious attachments. Be extra vigilant, and always check the sender’s email address and hover over links before clicking them. If you think something is suspicious, don’t click – alert your IT support team. We’ve covered ways you can avoid a phishing attack and what to do if you fall victim here

Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) can give you an added level of security, allowing you to hide where you’re located. This reroutes traffic through the internet from your business’s private network, ensuring even more security. Internet traffic is encrypted so that it is unreadable to hackers. While not always necessary in all situations, it can be a useful tool if you want to stay safe while working on your own devices.

Run anti-virus

If your computer has slowed down or programmes seem a bit sluggish, run your anti-virus software. All kinds of computer crashes can be caused by viruses or other malware so it’s worth taking the time for a scan. Antivirus scanners can sometimes miss threats or get disabled by them, so always let your IT teams know that you are doing this.

Use a password manager

We all should use multiple passwords daily to access different sites and software – well, we definitely should do! This can make keeping track of those passwords a pain, but there are applications that can help. Password managers such as Passportal can automatically remember and recall a password for each site you saved, keeping your security information safely inside a digital locker.

Screen sharing and collaboration

We all know that screen sharing is a must for collaboration when we’re remote working and we’ve practiced it through video conferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. But if you don’t want to call a meeting just to show your colleague where something is or how to do something, a tool like Evernote allows you to take screenshots and add text, shapes and highlight what you’re talking about before sending it in a document that they can contribute to.

Stay up to date

A lot of computer problems are caused by outdated software. Luckily, many important updates are now applied automatically, which is why your computer might suddenly restart when you weren’t expecting it to. Whether you are working in Windows or on a Mac, it’s a good idea to regularly check in the settings if there are updates available.

Productivity tools

Remote workers are faced with plenty of distractions that can affect a day’s productivity. Even the smallest lapse in concentration – for example to check your phone – can take you off task and make it difficult to get back to where you left off. A project management tool can help you to outline tasks and stay on track when faced with a heavy workload. And turn non-essential notifications from apps and social media off if you don’t need them during the working day!

Cut down on unused apps

The more applications you have, the harder your computer has to work and free storage space can quickly disappear. If you’ve noticed your computer is running more slowly or crashing, it might be that it’s simply packed up from all the software you’ve got installed. You can uninstall applications you no longer need in settings or by dragging into the trash bin.

The same goes for your browser—having too many extensions and add-ons installed can lead to a serious slowdown, so limit your add-ons to the ones you actually need and use.

Have a backup option

One of the number one issues with tech at home is internet connectivity – trying to do zoom calls on unreliable home WI-FI is a nightmare and we’ve all been there. One option is to speak to your provider and see if it is possible to upgrade your broadband but it’s also wise to have a backup option. Using your smartphone’s hotspot feature, which uses your phone’s 4G network instead of your home internet connection, can be faster than sub-par broadband.

While we can’t promise these tips will prevent and solve every IT problem you are having, they may be able to rule out some possibilities of the causes and help you stay productive. If you’d like advice about integrating new software to enable remote working or tools to help manage your remote teams, contact us.