Top Tips For Working Remotely During COVID-19
As the number of COVID-19 infections continues to increase with the World Health Organisation’s declaration of a pandemic, many organisations and their employees have had to adjust to a completely different mode of working. This is proving challenging from both an operational and technology infrastructure perspective. And we’re here to help! Here are our tops tips for working remotely during COVID-19.
Have The Right Hardware
When working remotely, the process obviously needs to be as streamlined as possible – which means you need the right tech! In terms of hardware, you basically have two options – a desktop computer or a laptop. And depending on your job, other valuable hardware can include a decent keyboard and noise-cancelling headphones.
Desktops come in all shapes and sizes and one of their benefits is that they can be upgraded fairly easily. Most modern desktops will handle general office work as a minimum, and come in one of two types. The first are towers to which you add a keyboard, mouse and monitor. If this is your preference, a 24-inch screen is ideal with at least 1080p in terms of resolution, which is basically full high definition (HD).
The second type of desktop is an ‘all-in-one’, where the computer is built into the back of the screen. These include Apple’s iMac and Windows PC equivalents. Basic specs you should look for include a decent processor, a minimum of 8GB of RAM, and a machine with a solid-state drive with a minimum of 256GB of storage.
The main advantage of laptops is their portability, however one of their downsides is that they are not ergonomically ideal. If you are choose to work from home during COVID-19 with a laptop, you should try to alleviate hunching over your computer by varying your working position – from sitting at a desk to standing while you work if you can. A riser can also help bring your laptop up to eye level, or you can connect to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse to improve your posture.
Broadly speaking, traditional hinged laptops are cheaper than convertibles (where the screen detaches from the keyboard) and 2-in-1’s (where the keyboard folds around the back). Regardless, it should have at least 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid-stage drive storage. In terms of screens, 13 inches should be fine for most uses with a resolution of at least 1080p for readability.
External keyboards will keep your home office more ergonomic over time, and if your job involves lots of typing invest in a decent one. Keyboards come in USB or wireless versions that connect via Bluetooth. Bear in mind that wireless keyboards will also normally require batteries – either AA’s or AAA’s.
Noise-cancelling headphones can help block out distractions and are particularly useful for phone calls and video conferencing as most have built-in microphones. Large, over-ear headphones are typically more comfortable for long-term wear than in-ear versions.
Have The Right Software
With many employers fully prepared for employees remotely working during COVID-19, you’re probably already sorted with the full range of word processing and video calling capability you need. However if not, we can help you install a wide range of basic software to suit whatever functions your job entails. These include:
- Microsoft Office 365
- Microsoft Azure
- Microsoft Office Applications
- G Suite
- Amazon Web Services
- Backup Applications
- Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Applications
- Database Applications
In terms of video conferencing, you may end up using whatever your employer suggests, however our top picks are Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Chat. Microsoft’s Skype and Apple’s Face Time also work well and most phone-based messaging apps, including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, also offer video chat which can be easier to use.
Have The Appropriate Broadband Speed
Broadband speed is essentially how quickly you can download or upload data using your internet connection, and it’s usually expressed in megabits per second (Mbps). In terms of what you need to work remotely during the coronavirus, it depends on the work you do and the apps you use. Here is a guide to how much speed you’ll need for a few of the more popular work-related applications.
Web pages are getting more complicated, and in fact some sources say the average size has increased from an average size of 200 kilobytes (KB) in 1998 to around 1600KB today. Obtaining the ideal viewing experience usually requires a download speed of at least 3Mbps.
The speed you’ll need for video calling will obviously depend on the platform you’re using, however with Skype for example, a normal two-way video call that’s of a decent quality will require a download/upload speed of around 500 kilobytes per second (kbps). For a HD call, you’ll need 1.5Mbps upload/download. Bandwith requirements will also increase further depending on how many people are involved in the call.
For high bandwidth applications, the higher speed you have the better, however, even on lower broadband speeds of 12Mbps/1Mbps users can still access a range of cloud services.
Ask For Help!
The outbreak of COVID-19 is having significant impacts on the acceleration of tools and technologies that enable people to work remotely. Which is also why technology-centric businesses like ours are becoming more critical for business continuity.
With our COVID-19 Management Plan, we are committed to assisting our clients with their IT requirements in whatever way we can. Whether it’s redesigning your system to facilitate the best possible remote access, or setting up video conferencing or software applications, please let us know. Our Engineers are here to offer assistance anytime during our Support Hours (Monday to Friday, 6am to 7pm) on our Freecall number (1800 227 569).
Finding it challenging to maintain productivity during the challenges of COVID-19? We offer a range of infrastructure, service, continuity and IT cloud services that will keep things running smoothly. Contact us today!