Tech Tips: Working From Home and What We've Learned

Date Posted: Jun 1, 2020
Written By: Laura Nickols

Up until a few months ago, our team did the bulk of our work on-site. Then around mid-March, the world got hit with Covid-19.  Due to new social distancing legislations, our awesome tech guys were forced to set us up to work remotely from home, and this is what we learned.

It turns out that we can do our jobs just as well at home as compared to working at the office.  The only downsides are no ad-hoc brainstorming sessions, calling over to a co-worker to help with deciphering a hard-to-read phone number on an application form or un-jamming the photocopier (ok, we don?t miss that too much).

The other thing we learned is the importance of a good home office setup. Here are some tips to help you thrive at your newly established home office:

  1. You NEED a monitor with your laptop.  If you're spoiled like us, you have great dual-monitor setups in the office. Peering at your laptop screen after being accustomed to 20" or larger monitors at best doesn't encourage productivity, and at worst induces migraines. Take the time and plug in your home PC monitor to your laptop, if you don't have extra monitors at your office that you can bring home. If you absolutely can't lay your hands on another monitor, an HDMI cable will allow you to plug into your TV (and this way you can work on your couch!)

  2. Bring home your work keyboard. If you are like me and loathe typing on a laptop, then it would be prudent to bring your keyboard home from work. If that's not possible or you don't have one at work, you can get cool keyboards delivered to your door in just a few days.

  3. Choose a new wi-fi channel. You, your spouse and the kids are all at home and your bandwidth is non-existent. Your emails are taking forever to load and telling your 5-year-old to stop streaming Frozen 2 to open up the bandwidth is not an option. What's a solution? Switch your router from a standard 2.4 GHz wi-fi channel to a 5 GHz channel to boost your internet speeds by getting more bandwidth and less interference. Heres a how to guide to help you get started.

  4. Find a good chair. You probably have an amazing ergonomic custom-fitted chair at the office, but at home, you're perched on a barstool or a lawn chair. Ask yourself this question: how much is your back worth? If price is a concern, here is an awesome second-hand site that sells office chairs at a fraction of the price.

  5. Turn your phone into a scanner. We've been slowly moving to a mostly electronic environment, but less paper doesn't mean paperless.  We still end up with hardcopy documents, which have to be scanned into our database. This gets tricky when you don't have a handy scanner next to your dining room table, or wherever you've set up work-from-home operations.  The solution is closer than it seems. Did you know that neat little electronic rectangle can actually work as a scanner? Turns out the camera is good for more than selfies with your dog, who's been promoted to your at-home co-worker (though we love those pictures, so cute!). We found instructions for Android phones here, and for iPhones over here (the iPhone link also tells you how to sign a document on your phone, which is also super-handy).

Meet Stryker, Laura's Co-Worker!