Working From Home Tips - Domain Computer Services

Working From Home Tips

Mar. 18, 2020

Working from home made easy.

As you know, we are in the midst of a very trying time for society and business in general. That is why Domain as a technology company, is reaching out to provide value through education by sharing some helpful tips for working from home.

We get it, it’s not the same as working from the office, but we are “glass-half-full” people and that is why we put together some Basic Tips to be conscious of when working from home to address these challenges.

Basic Network
Tip #1 Wifi
Your experience working from home will depend a lot on your Wi-Fi performance.

Devices competing for throughput on one network can cause internal traffic issues and downgrade performance when working remotely. Whether your Wi-Fi router is old or new, it’s a good idea to go into the router’s management software and ensure it’s running the latest firmware, which can help improve the router’s software and also can update any security flaws.

Tip #2 Internet

Check the level of service you currently have with your ISP, especially if you don’t know. You’ll want to know your plan’s upload and download speeds, particularly if your work involves teleconferencing, large file sharing, video editing, and other bandwidth-intensive tasks.

If you think you may need more bandwidth to work from home, now may be a good time to renegotiate your service plan.

We also recommend using a tool that you can use to test your internet speed to see if you are getting the speed you are paying for.

Tip #3 Secure Home Network

Make sure all devices on your home network including the ones you use for business have the latest software updates (which often contain critical security patches) and also update any anti-virus software (especially on unmanaged personal devices).

Also, use Multi-factor authentication wherever possible, (especially with business-critical applications) as this adds a key layer of security and has become the baseline of security practices.

Hardware
Tip #1 USB Hub or Docking Station
If you using a desktop PC at home that you can connect to corporate resources, then you might already have everything you need. Desktops tend to be more powerful than laptops, offer the ability to connect more displays and provide greater connectivity options.

However, if you are not so lucky, you will most likely be using a company-issued laptop. The problem being, laptops are typically limited in terms of connectivity. That is why the use of a USB hub or docking station can give you the connectivity you need to produce multiple displays and a keyboard/mouse for multitasking all while you don’t have to run for your charging cable.

Docking Station: StarTech Thunderbolt

USB Hub: Anker 4-bolt

Tip #2 Webcam and Headset

How many video calls have you had this week? Teams like to see each other when they collaborate, meaning you’ll want a good webcam and headset to make for a comfortable quality experience.

Using your built-in webcam and basic headphones should work well enough, but if you want to upgrade the experience, investing in a webcam or headset is a good idea, especially if you’re working at larger monitors.

Webcam: Logitech Webcam

Wireless Headset: Plantronics-CS540

Tip #3 The Right Monitors

Especially If you’re using a laptop, there are endless options for how to set up your layout. You can prop it up on a stand, or, for an ultra-clean desk, you can even purchase a vertical laptop stand and leave your laptop closed while using it.

There are a variety of ways Windows 10 works with split screens and multiple displays (or Mac if that’s your platform to make it easier to manage multitasking.

Monitor: HP 24-inch

Tip #4 Keyboard and Mouse

Investing in a good external keyboard and mouse will make a big difference in terms of efficiency. Input options are more versatile and significantly more comfortable. (There are even ergonomic options if you want to spoil yourself)
Wireless Keyboard & Mouse: Logitech MK545
Practical Tips
Tip #1 Kid Friendly Environment
Let’s not lie to each other. We love our kids, but being a parent and working remotely is not always easy.

Make a plan for education and entertainment. Stock up on books and puzzles. Also, it’s OK to use streaming services, just be conscious of the stress that puts on your internet or WiFi.

P.S. – Virtual play dates are a real thing now using video chat through platforms like Roblox and Twitch, which allows kids to chat while playing a video game together (Yes, times have changed).

Here is another cool educational resource that provides virtual tours for National Parks for the kids, or for yourselves:

Tip #2 Make It Fun

Why should working from home be any different than being in the office? Build a virtual environment that is enjoyable for your employees and allows for some fun activities to take the edge off. This is good for your companies culture and will help bring a key social element into the isolation of this quarantine.

Applications like Kast offer Virtual Watch Parties for your team. Also, a personal Domain favorite is Kahoot which is a trivia game that the entire team can play from using a web browser or mobile app.

At Domain, we even invented a Virtual Happy Hour through Microsoft Teams (yes, for real).

Tip #3 Communicate Expectations

Speak to your team about priorities and discuss how tasks will get done. Do they have the tools they need to execute?

Using standing meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page and make sure everyone is being held accountable. We encourage video teleconferencing (Zoom, WebEx, Teams) or to feel a little more personal.

Tip #4 Get In The Zone

If you’re easily distracted, get ready for work every morning like you are going to physically go into work. Dress up, do your hair — whatever you’d normally do. This puts you in a professional mindset.

It’s hard to draw a sharp distinction between home and office when you’re at home. But to the extent possible, create a space at home that looks and feels like your office to you.

Not sure where to take the first step? In view of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, Microsoft Office is making Microsoft Teams available to everyone For Free by giving them a 6 month license! Take advantage of this opportunity and put your team on the right track for success.

Does your business need help with this transition?

A conversation is a great place to start. Contact us to set up a call.