While working from home can feel like a luxury in some ways, it can also bring up new frustrations when you don't have resources at your fingertips - like IT support.
Some of the most common challenges teleworking employees run into are those involving technology, and that's true now more than ever due to the sheer number of people accessing online tools.
Here's a look at some of the tech hurdles teleworking employees run into, and some solutions to help overcome them:
Not Enough Bandwidth: If you're sharing your WiFi connection with children using the Internet for school (or, let's be real, games) and a partner who's also trying to work, chances are you've run into some connectivity problems. There are a few components to this one: Internet speed and WiFi signal strength. For spotty WiFi signals that peter out from one room to another, the New York Times' Brian Chen recommends a mesh WiFi system that "lets you connect multiple wireless access points together to blanket your home with a strong internet connection." Chen says his favorites are Google Wifi and Amazon’s Eero.
When it comes to Internet speed, you can start by asking your provider if a plan with higher broadband speeds is available. That will cost more money, but you can ask your employer if there's funding in place to help compensate employees for home office costs like WiFi service. Another tool to consider is a second router. Routers can help the flow of data move a little faster, if you feel like your Internet plan is already where it needs to be but you're still seeing slowdowns.
Using your smartphone's hotspot feature can also help speed up your data connection, but you'll need to keep an eye on usage in order to avoid surpassing your plan's data limits.
Tiny screens: Many employers sent their employees home with company laptops to use for telework. Those screens can begin to feel cramped, though. If you need a little more screen space but also don't want a cumbersome home office setup, read these recommendations for monitors to update your workspace.
Video calls: We can't help you feel less awkward about staring at your own face on video calls, but there are a few tools that will improve the lighting and sound on those calls. Chen of the New York Times says "if sound quality is an issue, wireless headsets like the $180 Jabra Elite 75t earbuds have noise-reducing microphones so you don’t pick up as much external noise. For better video quality, you might consider buying a webcam, like Logitech’s $70 C920S. For lighting issues, a light therapy lamp, like Carex’s $150 Day-light Classic Plus, can provide some natural-looking lighting to a video call — and it might even perk up your mood."
Lastly, employers and employees should think about what they really need to make remote work successful. There are a lot of productivity and connectivity tools out there, and you might be using them all right now. Try to streamline as much as possible to cut down on frustration and Internet-hogging gadgets.
Are you an employer or an employee trying to adjust to remote work? Let us know your ideas, challenges, and thoughts about that and other telework topics!
Does your workplace need customized support to create a remote work structure? Movability can help! Contact Kate Harrington to learn more.