by Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert
Last year was interesting, to say the least. Before the pandemic, businesses were running normally. Then overnight, many companies transitioned their workforce to work remotely.
When you're working from home, you may not be able to use the same equipment and support you enjoyed when working at your office. Maybe your home computer or Internet service isn't as robust as it was in your office. Also, cyber-criminals are aware that as a remote worker, you don't have the same protection as you did in the office, so they have increased their attacks. Hopefully, with the vaccines, we all will be able to return to a normal life, but in the meantime, here are some tips to make you more productive and sane as a remote worker in 2021.
1. Make Sure your Internet is Working at Warp Speed.
When was the last time you replaced your modem/router? Do you know these devices should be replaced at least every 5 years? If you're leasing your modem/router from your ISP (Internet Service Provider), you can call them and ask for a replacement ... free of charge, well not free since you are paying for it. Most Internet service companies introduce new models of modem/routers every few years, but they don't always inform their subscribers that they've switched to newer, better equipment.
If you've been with your service company for a while, it's time for a switch. Take the time or have your favorite computer guru call your ISP to inquire if you can upgrade that modem/router. Chances are newer equipment will help improve your speeds and might even give a boost to your Wi-Fi.
If you're struggling with slow Internet or no Internet, get with your tech buddies to help you find a good solution. It could be as simple as a low Wi-Fi signal in your home office or just a lack of good Internet providers in your area. It's worth the investment to have someone check out what your options are.
There are many products on the market such as range extenders, Powerline adapters, and stronger routers that can help you get better Internet.
2. Are You Cyber Secure?
Hopefully, your company (this means you if you're self-employed) is doing a good job keep you safe from all of the threats out there. Cybercriminals have changed their tactics because of the work at home situation many of you are facing. A few years ago, you had to worry about the threat of someone hacking into your computer.
In our current digital world, cybercriminals have resorted to scams that trick you into letting them in your computer and giving up your and your companies valuable information. Phishing schemes such as Smishing (text scams) , Whaling and Spearing (email scams that look like they came from your fellow employee), and Vishing (think about all of those scammy phone calls) have increased. Keep in mind that 99% of cybercrime requires user interaction.
As long as you don't click on suspicious email links, or give out your information to strangers, you will stay safe. Trust your gut. If you get a phone call from the office or an email from the boss asking for sensitive information, don't hand it out unless you verify it. Remember that Twitter hack from last summer? It was because a remote employee gave out sensitive information to a criminal.
Make sure you're following the usual cybersecurity tips such as using anti-virus software, working behind a VPN, or setting up a VPN for your mobile workforce to work from behind. Also, it's vital that you're not working on devices that have outdated operating systems and that passwords are kept private ... like your underwater to strangers.
3. Set Boundaries Between Work and Home.
Going to work is easy if you're just rolling out of bed. It should also be that easy when you stop working for the day. In recent years, 'grinding' and 'hustling' have become popular as a way to show people how hard they are working. How many of you have seen the quote "We all have the same 24 hours" which is to imply if you're not putting in 12-14 hour workdays, you aren't going to be successful.
This way of thinking has to stop with solo businesses, small businesses, and large businesses. Like your laptops, smartphones, and tablets, you need to recharge. It's okay to step away and enjoy life. Trust me, no one on their deathbed is making regrets that they wished they would have worked longer hours.
Dealing with this pandemic has caused a lot of strain on many of us as we have to isolate to stay safe. Hopefully, we can all return to a more social society soon, but in the meantime, a healthy balance of working smarter and relaxing will help you stay productive and sane as you work remotely from home in 2021.
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