Working From Home

Well the COVID-19 virus has changed the world and quite possibly changed your work location too.

Many people are now lucky (or not so lucky) enough to be able to work from home. Working from home may sound great but there are some significant issues to address.

Management:
Whether you are the Manager or you are Managed (and who isn’t?) you will need a communication arrangement. Managers love to be able to check to see if work is actually being accomplished, KPI’s are being met, and your duties carried out. Working hours need to be agreed. This can be a difficult thing or an easy thing, it depends a lot on the actual work and the relationship trust level with your Manager or Team. Think and discuss how this oversight is going to be conducted. Everybody needs to be happy with the solution.

Location:
Unless you live alone you will struggle unless you have a study or a work space which is removed from the daily activity in your home. You need to be able to focus without distractions such as the TV, kids, the partner and the cat. Especially the cat walking across the keyboard! ;) Desk space and lighting are significant considerations. You can’t work efficiently when your cramped and low level lighting, un-even lighting and glare all contribute to eye strain, headaches and low productivity. Try to setup so the main light source is high above and behind your shoulders. Multiple light sources can work well to eliminate shadows.

Connection:
Your internet connection needs to be reliable and if you need to attend virtual meetings it needs some speed too. A cable connection to your modem or router will be the most reliable in house connection but WiFi can work well too. You probably can’t do much about the internet connection. Many people will be locked into a contract or find it to hard to swap providers, but you many be able to upgrade the speed of connection, and you may be able to claim that cost in either tax rebate or from the business.

Computer:
As always, the most important question you can ask yourself is “does my computer do everything I need?” Working from home your needs can be quite different from those you have for your home computer. Typical use for home computers is a bit of web browsing and some email but you maybe into gaming and a gaming computer will be much more powerful than a typical home computer. Maybe you have been provided with a laptop from work, in which case I’d recommend spending $50 on a wireless keyboard and mouse. The mouse is so much easier to use than a touch pad and a full size keyboard makes typing easier. Software is the next consideration. As a home user chances are you don’t have Microsoft Office and specifically Outlook that you probably use for your email at work. There are work arounds available. LibreOffice.org is a free office package that you can download and it compatible with MS Office Word, Excel and Powerpoint. You will need to configure the default file format for saving files. Email can be more of a challenge. You may be able to access your work email from a web browser or you may need an application like Outlook to access it. If you need an application, Emclient.com is an excellent alternative to Outlook and is free to download and use for “non-commercial use” with 2 email addresses.

Data Access:
It is almost certain that you will need access to data and email at the office unless your work environment has moved to the cloud. Access to data at the office can be done by direct access to your file server or by remote access to your desktop computer in the office. Either can work well but your IT Administrator will advise how to access the data and configure the connection for you.

Support:
The last item is support. You hopefully have phone support available from your IT Administrator but if not you can call 1 For Computers for five minute FREE phone support. Ph 1300 684 608.