How to Work from Home Better

Woman sitting at a desk working from home during lockdown


You've been working from home for long enough now to feel like a pro. Here are some hacks to make your #WFH experience happier and more productive.


Convert Your Bookshelf into a Standing Desk


Did you know that sitting for prolonged periods of time is not good for your health? If you're leaving your desk every 20 minutes and doing your stretches, that's great. But another way to ease the stress on your body is to have a standing desk. Lockdown may make it hard to have one made by a professional and delivered in time, but there are plenty of YouTubers out there who will show you how to convert a bookshelf into a standing desk. Your back will love you for it.


Boost Your Wi-Fi Router for Better Performance


If you have a Wi-Fi router installed at home, you may have noticed that you have the option of two signals to choose from. Most routers broadcast from 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Consider switching to the latter when making video calls, as it is faster and less likely to suffer interference from cordless phones and microwaves (yep, they do have an effect on your Wi-Fi!). But make sure you're closer to the router when you do, as that frequency doesn't penetrate walls as well as the 2.4GHz. Otherwise you should look into acquiring a Wi-Fi extender to boost the signal and ensure there are no corners of your home where you can't get a good signal.


Use a Chat App to Keep in Touch with Colleagues


Working from the office isn't just about your productivity – the social part of having your colleagues around is just as important. Those quick water-cooler chats with your office buddies, the ability to quickly walk over when you have a question instead of typing out an email – these are some of the things you miss doing when you're working from home. Fortunately there are plenty of apps out there to help you not just manage workflow among colleagues, but also to have that quick, informal and interpersonal communication that makes the day go a lot smoother. Microsoft Teams is a great one because of its integration into other commonly used Microsoft work applications, and the free version includes video calling to multiple team members. Another popular app is Slack, which does include a video-calling function. However, you will need to subscribe to the $7 per month package to be able to do multi-person video conferencing.


These are all great to consider as alternatives to services like Zoom, which have really taken off this year but may give you some issues when using because of the sheer number of people using them at any given time.


Keep Backups


Your computer is insured, right? Make sure it is, because if that baby crashes, your work (and possibly income!) will die with it. Remember to back up your work regularly as well. Save copies to the cloud (via Dropbox or Google Drive), and make sure your internet connection is quick and stable enough to manage Cloud-based work.


Upgrade Your Internet Connection for More Bandwidth


All that video conferencing and streaming of Netflix, Hulu or DStv Now takes up a lot of data, and also bandwidth. It's not just the data you need to worry about but also the bandwidth. If you're not on either a large or uncapped package, you really should keep an eye on how much you end up using. An hour-long video call can use up anything from 800Mb to 1.2Gb, depending on your connection and speed. If your bandwidth is lower than 4MHz, you're going to have problems streaming content.


If you're constantly streaming, whether it's video calls, Netflix or online gaming, you should look into a higher bandwidth package. More South Africans are looking into this option: in April 2020 alone, we noticed a massive increase in the number of comparisons for fibre deals on the site!


Your home internet has never had to work as hard as it is working now. To ensure you get one that meets all your needs, compare fibre and LTE packages on to see which one is the most suitable option.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.

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