Working from Home Because of Coronavirus? Effective Technology Makes It Easier

When you’ve never worked from home before, it can be a significant change from how you’ve worked before. It’s certainly true that some employers – maybe the majority – will provide the necessary equipment and/or software to facilitate this mass movement to temporary home working due to the Coronavirus. It may not be the best choice, and remote workers always have the option to pick other, better alternatives. Some of these are free or offer free 30-day trials. However, for people remunerated based on their productivity level or who must maintain a certain level to stay gainfully employed, the best tools may be required.

Here are some technology-related ideas worth considering.

Private VPN to Make Remote Connections More Secure

A private virtual private network (VPN) acts to provide end-to-end encryption to all communications on a PC. For companies that are letting some staff log into their corporate network from outside the office building, using a VPN ensures that the login process is safer, and the information obtained during the connection is securely sent and received.

Using a VPN goes beyond what SSL provides through secure web pages by adding different layers of encryption. There are many different VPN providers, so it’s difficult to know which one to choose. To help you, here is a privateVPN review to look over.

Communicating with the Team Remotely

Many companies aren’t set up for real-time communications via chat apps yet. The belief was often that it would lead to wasted time that could be better spent elsewhere. However, remote workers have known for years that being able to quickly touch base with a colleague in real-time is better than composing a full email and needing to stop and wait for the reply before continuing.

For remote working, communication/collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Skype or Slack all have their place. If your company has already selected or used one platform, then stick with that. However, if they haven’t, and you’re used to using a certain app, then recommend it to the remote integration team.

Group Task Management

Task and project management for departments is critical to ensure companies can meet their objectives. With this level of organization, it’s much harder to manage workflows using other methods like email or a general noticeboard system.

At the most basic end, it’s possible to use free Google Sheets to set up a single Excel-compatible spreadsheet or Word document. From there, managers can provide a list of tasks and group them by the person or team responsible for their completion. Deadlines and other information can also be included, edited in real-time, and viewed by other staff members virtually instantly.

There are some task management tools like Microsoft To-Do app that allow for individual tasks to be assigned to different people. Projects can also be created by setting up a task and then adding steps to its ultimate completion.

Also, advanced tools like Asana or Microsoft Project allow for a granular level of detail on projects, tasks, and assignment decision management.

Clean Up the PC for Faster Running

If you’ll be using a personal laptop as your workhorse at home, then you have greater freedom of what software to add.

When the PC isn’t that new, then it may have slowed down considerably. It’s a good idea to use a utility that can clean up the system, delete unnecessary registry entries, and defragment the hard drive. This will lead to a smoother running and faster booting system.

For the PC, you might wish to try Advanced SystemCare from IObit. With a Mac, CleanMyMac X or MacBooster 7 both have some good features. Don’t forget a solid antivirus and antimalware package too.

Android App Platform Safer to Install New Apps

Google has confirmed that the app protection program, Play Protect, is now to become a default feature of the Play Store.

For Android users, this ensures that apps are safer to install. iOS has similar app monitoring systems to catch malicious code inside mobile apps.

Blocking Tools to Stay Focused

The number of distractions when trying to work at home is considerable. Whether it’s the kids being home from school, the dog wanting to play, or the nearby TV begging for attention is immaterial. It is usually much harder to get things done at home than people imagine, especially when they have never had to deal with that aspect before.

Using browser extensions, add-ons or installed software that actively block access to chosen websites that you can waste hours on is the answer. Tools like StayFocusd, Net Nanny, Barracuda Web Blocker, and K9 Web Protection are all solid options here.

Once you have the right technology at your disposal, it becomes infinitely easier to get important work done from home. Without them, you’ll be struggling until the Coronavirus is a thing of the past.

Read next: The Latest Tech That Can Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder, As You Work Remotely (infographic)
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