The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world forever. One of the most significant and notable things that have changed is how we work.
As writing this article, most countries in the world have promoted remote work when possible in order to ensure a successful quarantine. This has caused many companies that were reluctant about remote work to become widely open to it.
At the same time, millions of professionals who assisted every day to their offices and had no experience working remotely have found themselves at home, suddenly experiencing this without prior preparation.
So, you may wonder, how can you make your best work from home? What are the tools, tactics, and strategies to get everything done and continue to be productive without leaving the house?
Our clients at My IT Guy have gone remote and we realized that many of their professionals may be struggling with this exciting yet unknown challenge. In the following lines, we will address some of the good practices in remote work to implement today.
Setting a Productive Environment at Home
Let’s begin with your setup. You need a proper desktop with all the hardware required to get your job done. Yes, this means that the couch is not an option (many different reasons back up this argument).
Setting the right environment for you can be the missing key to productivity. This applies to both your usual office-based workplace and your little space at home.
A clean, uncluttered desk is the first thing to aim for. If you have a desktop PC, you may have a proper setup already. If you bring your work laptop from the office, some extra work is required. Make sure you can get your laptop docked, connected to a bigger display, keyword, mouse, and a USB dock for flexible connectivity.
Then, take a good look at the space you are dedicating to work. Is it distraction-free? Does it enjoy proper lighting? Having your PC at the wrong spot can be dangerous for your productivity. Make sure you get enough light to avoid feeling like you are working in a cave. In these days of self-reclusion, enjoying some light is key to prevent mood swings and unproductive thoughts.
Get Remote-Ready Equipment
A remote worker needs remote-ready equipment. This is especially true if you work with a team. You and your organization need to make communication easy and fluid. For this, we have many tools.
In terms of hardware, make sure to have a proper webcam, microphone, and headphones. Modern webcams include microphones, so just make sure it is good enough to ensure clear communication.
Then, when it comes to software, modern companies are currently relying on powerful collaboration solutions such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. These apps work efficiently to have the entire team on the same page. To take productivity to the next level, consider cloud storage solutions (Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive), document live sharing solutions (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Evernote, and Office 365), and project management solutions (Trello, Asana, Todoist, and Notion).
As a managed service provider, My IT Guy can take care of your infrastructure needs, setting up the solutions that you and your team require. On this point, in particular, we recommend considering a full migration of your email setup to cloud providers such as Gmail for Business and Microsoft Office 365 in case you don’t have it already.
How to Focus When Working at Home
The next step is to understand that you need to go the extra mile, at least at the beginning, to be productive at home (especially if you have no experience working remotely).
There are plenty of psychological arguments against working from home as we have a hard time disconnecting from the personal routine and get in the zone to get professional work done. However, it’s possible to successfully get ourselves in the right mindset.
Home, especially if we have a family, is a distraction-rich environment. Therefore, commitment is necessary. We need to isolate ourselves from these distractions. Use noise-canceling headphones and forget about having the TV on while working. Make sure everyone at home respectfully understand that you need to concentrate and work. That way you can prevent innocent interruptions.
Keeping Your Infrastructure Safe
Finally, one of the most critical points in working from home these days: security. This harsh, violent transition from day-to-day office jobs to remote work due to Coronavirus has led to serious cybersecurity problems.
For example, amongst all the chaos, thousands of businesses sent their teams home so they could work from there. However, the vast majority of these companies have neglected cybersecurity during this whole process. Professionals all around the world are now connecting their work devices to home networks, which very often are weak and poorly configured.
What’s the risk then? By having bad cybersecurity hygiene at home, we are creating a massive opportunity for malicious parties not only to hack into our personal devices but also into our work ones. At this moment, an incredible number of companies continue to ignore this fact.
The worker continues to have access to business assets, possibly through the cloud, but they do it by using unprotected networks at home. This is a huge liability for companies. Organizations must consider all options available to keep their infrastructures safe even when workers are operating remotely. This means that everyone must go the extra mile in terms of cybersecurity to keep systems protected.
For starters, enhanced email security is a must. Proofpoint and Ironscales are two solid technologies that are helping businesses to prevent cyberattacks based on email communication.
On the remote worker’s side and not on the company, you should make sure your hardware and software at home are up to the challenge. Use a modern, properly-setup router and have your firewall up, especially if you are using your personal computer for work.
Your anti-malware software must be on-point as well. Make sure basic security layers are operative and if necessary, go further to guarantee full protection of your data. Consider security technologies such as a VPN to keep yourself safe online.
Atv My IT Guy, we are helping our clients to be protected in these dynamic yet uncertain times. Malicious agents are lurking and many of them as profiting from this unfortunate situation we are all living. They have found in the fear caused by the COVID-19 pandemic a business opportunity. Because of that, you need to be as protected and ready as possible.
We are helping clients to be safe and sound, implementing strong mechanisms that keep their infrastructures well protected. Beyond cybersecurity, our team is making their transition towards remote work easier, making sure the staff has the very best resources to be productive and efficient.
If you want to know more, click here to contact the My IT Guy team today.