How to Prepare to Work at Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak – Plan Ahead by Setting Up Hardware and Productivity Apps Before You Need Them
You may want to consider the possibility that you could find yourself working from home during the coronavirus outbreak. As the virus spreads across the United States, the possibility that your workplace or your child’s school may close or that you could have to be quarantined is increasing. This is already a reality for about one thousand people in the Westchester New York area who came in contact with someone who is now infected. One of the best ways to help stop the spread of any virus is to keep people away from each other and let the incubation period run its course. That may mean you have to work from home.
Italy has announced that all schools and universities are closed until mid-March. The goal is to stop the spread of COVID-18 by keeping students out of densely populated buildings and dorm rooms.
Parts of California are in a state of emergency and many businesses in the Seattle Washington area are closed because of outbreaks in those areas. These workers have suddenly found themselves working from home. In the past may have been considered luxury by their employer, but now it has become a necessity. It’s important to make sure that you are equipped and prepared for the possibility of working from home on a long-term basis.
You may need a new laptop to accommodate your work files. A lot of people only have a tablet or the smallest possible laptop computer because the average person really only uses their laptop to surf the web or to write a MS Word document for school. If you find yourself working from home full time you may find that you need a bigger laptop with more storage space and a faster processor to accommodate your needs.
If you work with any kind of sensitive information you might want to upgrade to a laptop with biometric authentication capabilities. A laptop that uses fingerprint scan or facial recognition to protect sensitive or confidential work information offers the most security to protect your new laptop.
Upgrade to a Better Smartphone
If you haven’t upgraded your smartphone in a while and you plan on working from a mobile device rather than a laptop you may want to invest in an upgraded smartphone. A new smartphone especially one with a larger screen may make it easier for you to work from home long-term. If you end up having to self-quarantine or work from home because your children’s school or your workplace closed, a new smartphone with more storage space minus a bunch of old apps that slow down your phone will make your workday easier.
Stable internet connection
Now that you have a new fast laptop with a big hard drive or an upgraded smartphone, you’re definitely going to need a stable internet connection so you can work-from-home efficiently and productively. You may find it difficult at first to get things done with distractions at home, especially if other people are quarantined with you.
But a stable and fast internet connection will make sure that everyone is able to get their work or schoolwork done especially if others are watching a lot of streaming media.
In case you don’t have some apps supplied by your workplace, a few productivity apps will get your job done faster. Scheduling apps, project management tools, timers, and a calendar app will organize your workday. Grammarly is great for proofreading. Organize your office ahead of time and get everyone on an encrypted messaging app like Signal. That way you can have it open on your laptop or phone during the day and not have to keep checking email. Speaking of email make sure that you can access your work email from home securely.
Get a Work from Anywhere Go Bag
Get a work-from-anywhere stylish laptop go bag. Now that you have a new laptop and all your work necessities at home, you might want to get out of the house for a little if it’s allowed. Working at a coffee shop for a change in scenery is good for productivity and sanity. A quality go bag that will hold your laptop, paperwork, and coffee cup is handy and stylish.
Don’t Forget the Paperwork
Even though you may be able to work remotely and accomplish everything that you would in your office, there may be some paperwork that you’re going to need to grab. It might be large drawings or collections of documents that are not available online. Now is the time to make a list and organize documents that you might need to work from home. If possible, you may be able to scan and store digital copies of these documents in cloud computing.
Stay Safe with a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A virtual private Network, or VPN, will allow you to connect to your workplace securely. A VPN encrypts all the communications from your laptop or phone. It’s important to use a VPN to keep your communications, including emails, messages, and file transfers private. This is especially important if you’re going to take your laptop go bag and work from a public place like the local coffee shop where you share the same Wi-Fi connection.
Use Conferencing Apps
Conferencing apps are really helpful even if your workplace is not closed or quarantined. They save time and money because people do not have to travel to attend an event or a meeting. Most conferencing apps also offer the ability to record the meeting for later playback or for those who could not attend. Consider using a conferencing app as a preventative measure to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Several companies are now offering free use of their apps. Cisco lets anyone use WebEx meetings for free for up to 100 people for the next 90 days.
Keep tabs on Comms
While you’re working from home or quarantine keep tabs on what your local government and school district is communicating. Be sure to check the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control websites. Also read what your local Township, City, County and state governments are reporting about the status of the Coronavirus and quarantine areas. Even if something is not closed, you might want to stay away if there are a lot of infected people in your area.
Don’t Be Shy with Soap and Hand Sanitizer
One of the best defenses against any virus or bacteria is to wash your hands frequently. Be sure to wash your hands every time you use the restroom. Periodically give your hands a good scrub at regular intervals during the day. It’s one of the best defenses against spreading germs. If you go out to work in a public place be sure to wash your hands after you touch doorknobs other services. Bring along disinfecting wipes to wipe down any tables and chairs.