Tech Blog


5 Benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop for Businesses

The days of doing all our work in the office are gone for most businesses. There are clients to meet, conferences to attend, and roadshows to run. Employees are often on the move, and they want to work fully, wherever they are. Windows Virtual Desktops can help.

Windows Virtual Desktop allows staffers to work off-site with continued access to office workstations. All the business data and programs are accessible through the cloud. Plus, the individual can use a laptop, tablet, or other mobile device. They’ll log in to a virtual desktop that looks the same as the one at work. Let’s consider the many benefits Windows Virtual Desktops offer.

#1 Convenience

Allowing users to access desktops from wherever they are makes it easy to keep working. They can do whatever needs to be done, whenever they have the time to do so. Since virtual desktops mirror the office workstation, users are more efficient. They aren’t having to relearn a task when working remotely or off-site. That file they’re looking for is in the same place it would be if they were sitting at their office desk.

#2 Lower costs

Your business could use software that needs more power than users have on mobile devices. Virtual desktops tap into a powerful cloud-based network, which means your business doesn’t need to invest in the infrastructure to support those apps.

You don’t need to upgrade to multiple computers. The virtual desktop in the cloud will do the necessary work, and it’s easily scalable. This also saves time, as your business doesn’t have the long upgrade time of new infrastructure.

You might also lower business costs by hiring the best talent from wherever it is in the world. Everyone is working from a virtual desktop. So, someone logging in from North America has the same access as another employee in India, for example.

#3 Security

Your business may have policies about applications and devices people can use to do work. You’ve tried to limit risky software downloads and prevent staff from connecting on unsecured devices, except your employees are still going to take the path of least resistance. If they think it’s easier to do their work on an unapproved smartphone, they probably will. They’ll also use that prohibited app if it’s easier to access than the business-approved software.

But you don’t need to worry about this with virtual desktops, as you’re streamlining safe access to approved business applications and business data. With Microsoft, patches and updates come from a company investing heavily in cybersecurity.

#4 Business continuity

If you have moved to remote work in 2020, you probably already recognize the value of the cloud. Having virtual desktops hosted in the cloud provides business continuity. Even if you suffer a natural disaster or other disruption, employees can still get online. They’ll keep on working in a consistent computer environment with Windows Virtual Desktops.

The ability to quickly access necessary data and programs helps the business get running again. Regardless of the situation at one geographical location, users can continue working, even while restoration is in progress at the office.

#5 IT’s job is easier

With virtual desktops, IT doesn’t have to handle as much physical technology, as the system exists in the cloud. Plus, IT no longer has to spend its time clearing an old laptop and reconfiguring it for another employee. Instead, a virtual desktop can be saved and transferred to a new user.

IT experts can turn their attention to more value-adding activities. Freed from tedious, time consuming tasks, they can innovate and contribute revenue-driving ideas.

Of course, you can make it even easier on your in-house IT team by partnering with a managed service provider. Our tech experts can set your business up with virtual desktops. We’re also here to help manage and secure the cloud-based systems.


Invest Now in Your Top Tech Priorities

The global economy is in a slump. But believe it or not, now could be a good time to invest in technology priorities.

You may already have streamlined processes. You had certain technology tools and systems in place to get things done. It all was working fine. Yet 2020 brought many challenges to the way business functions. The technology you relied on in the past may not be the best answer to your current business needs.

You might have been putting off cloud migration, as most work was onsite, or you resisted remote working out of concern that employee productivity would suffer. Perhaps your business didn’t want to secure a “Bring Your Own Device” workplace.

Now, you need to rethink how your employees report for work. You could be facing any of 2020’s familiar challenges such as:

  • a server that could support your teams overburdened by remote workers;
  • a reliance on email document exchange causing difficulties with version control and accountability;
  • not having enough software licenses to accommodate employees working from home;
  • employees lacking the technology to get work done offsite.

Businesses need to act now to address their new technology needs. Keep in mind that many vendors are offering discounted services, plus, you may find it easier to access business loans for tech investments.

Stepping Up Your Tech Game

Some businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. Others are waiting out the current situation to see how things shake out. Then there are those that are rolling the dice and betting on a rebound. Improving the IT environment can be a foundation for future business success.

Plans may have already been in place to invest in a systems or hardware upgrade or migrate to the cloud. Continuing the digital transformation journey, when everyone is adapting already, could make sense. Reduce negative impacts by making the change while employees are working remotely. Downtime may not be as big of a challenge.

Your business may also invest in data backups and disaster recovery solutions. Didn’t have business continuity plans in place? You’ve likely realized their importance now. These plans prepare your business for data breaches, ransomware attacks, power outages, or natural disasters. Contracting for cloud data backup pays off when you can recover quickly and cut damage done.

Starting a partnership with a managed service provider (MSP) is also helpful. An MSP gets to know your business and its systems and needs. They can help find cost savings and identify opportunities for greater efficiencies. They can also offer expert IT advice, manage and track your data backups and cybersecurity, or take on day-to-day tasks, freeing up your IT team for revenue-generating innovation.

If you’re thinking of making a tech investment, contact us today. We’re available to consult on the best solutions for your business needs.

Our experts can put your plans into practice while you focus on your business recovery. Contact us today!


What to Do about Slow Internet in the Home Office

A few months ago we thought working from home would be temporary: a couple of weeks of remote work was going to help corral this coronavirus thing, and we’d get back to usual. Now we know better, and the things we could put up with in the short term loom as bigger challenges. Poor internet connectivity is one of those.

Many home internet connections were fine before. Someone in the family could be streaming Netflix, and another person could be checking email or paying bills – no biggie. Yet the demands on the internet connection have grown exponentially. People still want to do all those things, but students are also connecting to online learning platforms. Employees are logging in to video conferences, too.

Many businesses and their employees have seen the benefits of working from home during the pandemic. However, as remote work becomes a long-term solution, people can’t continue making do with subpar internet connectivity. What can be done?

Improving Internet Connectivity

Internet connections vary widely depending on where you are. You could enjoy blazing fast internet that allows you to upload large files in minutes even while someone else blasts zombies in a multi-player video game. Yet a few streets away, a user lacks the bandwidth to participate in a conference call without connectivity issues.

Home office internet connectivity depends on several factors, one of which is your internet service provider (ISP). Some ISPs simply aren’t as good. They may be cheaper, but they could be overselling their capabilities, which results in slowdowns at night. Higher-priced ISPs are less likely to have this problem. You may gain speed by simply switching to a different provider.

The kind of network connectivity available is also a consideration. Perhaps your network provider’s signal is carried over copper wiring. If that’s the case, the internet signal degrades with distance. Those physically further away from the exchange will have slower internet than someone closer in. Unless you want to move houses, there’s not a lot you can do about this one.

Still, fiber-optic cables are increasingly available in different areas. The ISPs charge more for these connections, but reliability benefits. Fiber loses only 3% of its signal over distances greater than 100 meters, whereas copper can lose up to 94%! At the same time, fiber is more durable and lacks the conductivity issues of copper, which can be vulnerable to power lines, lightning, and signal-scrambling.

Another factor may be the plan you’re on. The ISP may have a 100+ Mbps plan, and you’re only on the 12 Mbps. That was enough before, but you may want to upgrade now that so many devices are connecting to the internet at the same time.

Find out also if your plan is subject to a data cap. Some ISPs set up a data threshold limiting the amount of data you can use in a month or at particular times of the day.

Get Expert Insight into Your Internet

You might also benefit from upgrading your home internet connections. An IT expert can come in and take a look at the hardware you’re using to get online. There could be some quick connectivity gains with an upgraded router or gateway, or moving your wireless access points.

Our IT gurus can also determine whether a Wi-Fi booster or mesh solution would help. In your area, you may have a 4G or 5G wireless option. It’s more expensive but can be another way to get the speed you need.

Point-to-point Wi-Fi might also be an option. If you’re within range of a location providing business-grade internet, it may work to set up a dish on your roof. Of course, geography matters in this case, as you need a line-of-sight connection to the signal source.

Now that work from home is stretching long term, consider how you can upgrade your internet connection at home. Support remote work, student online learning, and other ways you use your bandwidth by getting the best you can.


Work From Home: Revisiting Business Etiquette

Business etiquette for working in an office environment is well established: show up on time, wear pants, put your name on your lunch in the fridge – those kinds of things. But working from home is a new thing for many people and businesses. These tips for business etiquette for remote work support professionalism.

#1 Watch tone

Making a joke or sarcastic comment to someone via text, online chat, or email is different now. When we’re together in the office setting, we can “read” other cues to determine when someone is being serious or not. Tone won’t always translate effectively without accompanying body language such as facial expressions. You can use smiley emojis or playful gifs where appropriate, but it’s safer to be wary of jokes or comments that rely on tone to work.

#2 Be proactive

There are many ways this applies in the online video conference environment. For one thing, test your microphone before joining the meeting. We’ve reached the point where you should be familiar with the basics of the business online meeting tool. The time has passed for you to begin each meeting with the frustrating, “can you hear me now? Wait, how about now?”

Also, pay attention also to your surroundings. Maybe your “home office” is in the basement laundry room. It’s the only place you can get the peace you need to concentrate! At the same time, you should check your camera view before a meeting. Do you want co-workers or clients seeing your dirty clothes bin or delicates laid out to dry?

#3 Pay attention

Give an online meeting your full attention. In a meeting in the office, you all sat together in a conference room with no other distractions. Now, it’s super-tempting to check your email or Facebook, especially if you’re getting popup notifications while you’re in the meeting. When you “take a peek” at another browser during a meeting you can miss key points.

You’ll also want to silence your mobile phone and put it out of reach. For important meetings, put a note on the door of your home or apartment asking visitors not to knock. After all, you can’t predict when that online order of toilet paper will finally arrive.

#4 Avoid distractions

The above point talked about distractions that might steal your attention. You should also be aware of all the ways you can be distracting to others. A busy, cluttered background on a video chat can be an issue. There are articles out now discussing the books visible on celebrity library backgrounds!

Typing on a keyboard or clicking persistently with a mouse is also distracting. You don’t notice these noises, but they’re easily picked up on a computer microphone. Using a headset will help, you can go old school and use a pen and paper to take your notes during online meetings.

Also, take steps to warn others about your upcoming meetings. Feed kids beforehand if you’re going to set up in the kitchen. That way, all your colleagues don’t have to see teens raiding the pantry over your shoulder. Put animals outside. No matter how cute you think it is to have your furry officemate wrapped around your shoulders for the call.

#5 Dress professionally

We mentioned the well-established “wear pants to work” rule already. This one persists in the home office setting. Search the internet and you’ll find videos of people caught wearing board shorts – or worse – for work calls. You might think your computer camera is only capturing you from the waist up, but what if you have to move?

Working from home allows many of us to live the dream of staying in our PJs all day. Still, you need to look the part for meetings. As an aside, getting dressed for your work from home will also help to put you in a professional frame of mind.

In fact, all these business etiquette ideas help you to switch gears and think work. Working from home can be challenging, as the boundaries between personal and professional blend. Still, prioritize being respectful and attentive during work time to get more done. That means more time available to binge-watch television in your boxer shorts.

Need help setting up remote work technology or troubleshooting online conference tools? Our IT experts can help. Contact us today!


Make an MSP Your Technology Sherpa

They don’t always get credit, but climbers reaching the summit of Mount Everest rely on a Sherpa to guide them. Making information technology decisions can feel like climbing a mountain, but there’s help for that, too. A managed services provider (MSP) can be your technology Sherpa.

With so many of us working off-site right now, digital transformation has moved from “wouldn’t it be nice?” to “we need to be there now.” Technology is as essential to business success as oxygen is to those scaling Everest. Going digital can be daunting, especially when under pressure to get your business back on track. Where does one even begin?

Working with an MSP, you partner with consultants to navigate the technology mountain. Even before COVID-19 sent so many people home to work, MSPs provided IT help:

  • researching new technologies to help customers collaborate better and work more efficiently;
  • finding cost savings and ways to streamline business processes;
  • offering cybersecurity and data backup strategies to suit business needs;
  • monitoring and maintaining IT networks, systems, software, and applications;
  • keeping systems up to date and secure;
  • migrating business applications to the cloud.

The current environment is challenging businesses to pivot quickly, yet it’s business as usual for the MSP. Our experts have prepared for decades to help business enable work from home and save money.

Taking the MSP Route

Working with an MSP, you gain the assistance of IT consultants to make the right tech decisions. This isn’t just deciding what online meeting platform works best for your needs (although an MSP can do that, too). A great MSP partner will take the time to learn:

  • how you do business now;
  • what technology is available;
  • how users engage with the technology (on-site, mobile, a hybrid?);
  • what your end users are looking for;
  • short- and long-term business goals.

With this information, they can provide IT help at the business-strategy level. The MSP will see what works and what doesn’t. Drawing on a depth of experience with other customers, an MSP can avoid expensive mistakes. With a wealth of contacts with technology vendors, the MSP can often find you better deals.

The MSP partner makes IT its sole focus. You can spend your time on other important areas of your business. For a consistent subscription fee that shows great ROI, the MPS will work to:

  • improve efficiency and flexibility;
  • enhance security and compliance;
  • monitor and maintain your business systems;
  • reduce costs and streamline processes;
  • identify new technologies that can boost your users’ productivity.

Technology Tailored to Your Needs

Up until now, you may have been taking the guided bus tour approach to technology. You pay for an IT service and expect it to take you from point A to point B without a hitch. Working with an MSP, you’ll get a tailored IT solution. After getting to know your technology, user practices, and strategy, the MSP develops a customized journey. Your digital transformation will follow a step-by-step approach that considers your particular characteristics.

Work with an MSP as your technology guide. Our experts can help you pivot if you need to. We can help you allow staff to work at home, securely and efficiently. We can help you save money. We can help downsize technology if that’s what the current situation requires and make smarter decisions as you scale Mount Technology with the help of our experts.

An MSP can even work virtually to provide the strategic support you need. Contact us today at 615-502-0552!


Tips for Trouble-Free Online Meetings

Online meetings are the new norm for many, but that doesn’t mean people magically know how to enjoy a trouble-free online conference experience. These tips can power more successful meetings.

Many businesses today are working from home with a reliance on Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or GoToMeeting. But even with these platforms offering voice or video capabilities, there can be tech problems. These tips can minimize the trouble and enhance business collaboration.

1. Go Wired

Connecting to Wi-Fi offers flexibility and mobility. Yet when it comes to an online meeting, prefer a wired connection. Enjoy a more reliable meeting connection by plugging your laptop or desktop into the internet router using a network cable.

If you need to use a mobile device and can’t connect via cable, reduce Wi-Fi obstacles. Call in from as a close to the wireless access point as you can. Wi-Fi signals are a form of radio wave, which means they can be hindered by:

  • large metal objects near the router;
  • thick walls;
  • other electronics;
  • Wi-Fi congestion from your neighbors’ access points.

So, that important meeting is not the one you join from a cement-bricked basement, not when your Wi-Fi router is in an upstairs bedroom and your neighbors are all relying on Wi-Fi signals, too.

2. Prioritize Your Meeting

When you have a scheduled meeting, announce it to the rest of the household. Ask kids not to get on Xbox or stream movies at the same time as you connect to your meeting. See if you can’t persuade your partner, who is also working from home, not to download large files or new software at the same time as your meeting.

Program your devices to back up at times that won’t compete with your work hours. In the office, your IT team scheduled updates or security patches outside of business hours. Now that you’re doing it all at home, be smart about when you do upgrades. Depending on your home internet speed, trying to do too many things at once can cause trouble for everyone.

3. Test Connections Before the Meeting

You may feel that all you’re doing is meeting online right now. Why would you need to test audio and video each time? Well, every time you unplug a device such as a microphone or headset the settings will return to the default. That means the next time you connect you aren’t set up the way you want to be. You were expecting to listen in using your USB headphones, but the last time you unplugged them your computer switched back to the next available audio input (e.g. your monitor or built-in laptop speakers). 

By checking the connection first, you also make sure you have the most up-to-date platform software. You don’t want to be late to a call because your device has decided it needs to re-install Skype right at that moment.

4. Use the Right Equipment

Headsets and external microphones limit the ambient noise. You’ll hear better. Plus, it will make your contributions easier to hear, too.

Muting your microphone when you’re not talking also helps – it reduces the noise pollution. Problems can arise when your mic picks up other people talking through your speakers. This precaution also saves you from apologizing when your dog barks ferociously at the FedEx delivery person.

5. Pick the Best Setting

Plan the best place to take that online meeting. The closer you are to your wireless access point, the better your connection.

Plus, you want to avoid high-traffic areas, as you’re more likely to be distracted. A child or furry colleague could make an unplanned appearance.

Select an area with a simple background, too. Sitting in front of a window may seem like a good idea, but it makes your face darker and more difficult to see on video. Ideally, you want to be in a well-lit room with a plain wall as your background.

6. Take Full Advantage of Online Meeting Features

You may have done conference calls in the past. Everyone called in, spoke when necessary, and that was that. But much of the top business collaboration software offers added features:

  • Call recording provides a record that can be checked later.
  • Call transcripts give you an efficient way to capture all that happened in a meeting.
  • Some platforms let you add virtual backgrounds to video calls.
  • You might also enable an interactive shared whiteboard, presentation slides, or co-browsing.

Online meetings are efficient and cost-effective. With the current health crisis forcing many of us to adapt to connecting virtually, implementing these ideas can help.

Need help setting up your online meeting platform or deciding on the solution that’s right for you? We can help. Contact us today!


Solving Your Work-from-Home Internet Woes

Your internet used to meet your needs. You could check social media and stream a TV show whenever you wanted without trouble. Now, since working from home, you’re finding your internet service more frustrating: it’s too slow when you want to send and receive large work files, or erratic when you take part in video meetings. Here’s help.

Blame your service provider

Ah, the familiar pastime – blaming someone else. The problem could be with your provider.

Yes, it’s a good idea to keep your expenses low, and that budget internet provider may not have been a problem in the past. But internet service providers (ISPs) may save money by buying less bandwidth. Bandwidth impacts the data transfer rate, which makes a difference to downloads and connectivity. ISPs might also oversell their capabilities, betting that everyone won’t be online at the same time. Yet, now, everyone is!

Switching to a higher-quality ISP can help address your connectivity concerns. It’s a good idea to find out what kind of connectivity they’re offering, too.

Some people are fortunate to live in places with full-fiber connections. This new technology uses fiberoptic cable to send more data, more quickly. Other people have to rely on providers using copper cables. Copper cables are old school and designed to carry call data as electrical pulses. The further your internet signals travel, the more your signal strength falters.

If poor wired infrastructure to your home is the issue, swap instead to point-to-point Wi-fi, 4G, or 5G. For instance, for Wi-fi, you’d install a Wi-fi dish on your roof pointing to a nearby wireless provider. With a 4G connection, you’d be using cell phone towers. 5G is the same, but you’ll find it faster if its available.

Redundancy is another way to go. Your existing wired connection may be fine most of the time, but you’ll have a backup in place. You can roll over to the 4G option if the wired internet goes down.

Sorry, the problem’s at your end

It’s possible the root of your internet problems is right there in your home or neighborhood. You are no longer the only person using your internet connection. You could be trying to download something on one computer while your partner is taking a video call. Maybe you also have kids online in an online classroom or looking for a supply llama in Fortnite.

Even if you’re only trying to watch Netflix, just as you used to, you might notice you’re lagging more than before. There are probably more neighbors on their Wi-Fi, too, which can result in congestion in your area.

If you can switch to a 5 GHz connection, do so. The speed will improve. Plus, you’ll find you’re not in competition with as many others, as many home Wi-Fi setups are on the 2.4 GHz frequency.

There’s a solution out there

The solution to your work-from-home internet woes will vary. It depends on your location, what’s around, and the internet service options available.


Essentials for Empowering Remote Work

?COVID-19 is forcing many businesses to embrace remote work. The technology needed to enable people to work from home has existed for years, but working from home may be new for you and your employees. Here are some essentials you need to address to empower your remote workers.

What technology do you have or need? Your people may have business laptops and phones, or perhaps you already allowed employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work. So, remote work isn’t going to be as much of a change. Your people already have the tools they need.

However, a business that wasn’t doing any of this before might need new hardware. You can’t expect your employees to lug heavy desktop computers home.

You may need to ask employees to use their own personal computers and phones. That’s going to require some ground rules. For one, no Windows 7: that operating system is out of date and no longer supported by Microsoft, which means employees could be putting corporate data at risk of cyberattack.

You can also take the following precautions to secure off-site online activity:

  • Establish strict policies for securing devices accessing business networks.
  • Communicate reporting procedures for the loss/theft of a device.
  • Enable mobile monitoring management of all devices that give IT access.
  • Encourage regular backup of mobile devices.
  • Educate employees to regularly update firewall and anti-virus software.
  • Prohibit third-party apps.
  • Set devices to make users aware that they may be connecting to unsafe networks.

Challenges of the Remote Work Environment

In the office environment, there is business technology consistency. Now, you’re supporting various hardware and networking solutions of different quality. This can be a headache to get up and running, yet you need to support your remote employees. What kind of IT desk help will you offer? People are now working wherever they are, whenever they want.

The “wherever they are” part can raise some issues. Employees could log in from public parks, coffee shops (if any are open), or while at home with the kids. This means fresh threats. Laptops can get stolen. People out in the world could look over your employee’s shoulder and read what’s on the screen. Kids can spill juice in a split second! Install remote management software to enable a complete wipe of lost or stolen laptops. Also, implement encryption, data backup, and screen-locking features to help keep data secure.

Saying people can work “whenever they want” also has its challenges. With everyone stuck at home, a 9–5 schedule for office productivity may be impossible. Toddlers don’t really understand that “Mommy’s working,” do they?

It’s a good idea to establish clear expectations from the outset:

  • How will progress be demonstrated?
  • How can employees check-in with managers?
  • What are the expectations for team collaboration?
  • What software will be used for group chat, video, or conference calling?
  • What is acceptable business-hour flexibility?

If you’re going to allow people to set their own hours, IT support needs to be flexible, too.

Supporting Remote Work

The good news is that remote work can be productive, too. In fact, a Stanford University study found remote employees did an extra day’s work per person per week.

We can help you set up your technology to support your remote staff. We’ll make sure your hardware is up to scratch, secure those mobile devices, and be your remote IT help desk at odd hours. Contact us today at 615-502-0552!


Steer Clear of Coronavirus Scams

With the world grappling with a health pandemic, scams are shocking. Regrettably, bad actors are everywhere, always looking for opportunities, and they’re seeing one in the coronavirus. This article outlines what you need to watch out for and how to stay cyber safe.

The last thing you want to read right now is that there’s another threat out there – sorry, but it’s true. Cybercriminals take advantage of fear. They take timely concerns and use them to target victims. Using the anxiety and upheaval around coronavirus is their mission.

So far, several coronavirus-related attempts to cyberscam people have been reported. There are examples of:

  • emails that appear to come from government health departments;
  • offering a tax refund to get people to click on malicious links;
  • memos to staff that appear to come from large employers;
  • COVID-19 test offerings from private companies;
  • fake websites promising to sell face masks or hand sanitizer;
  • soliciting donations to help fund a vaccine.

What to Watch Out For

Another concern is the number of bogus websites registered with names relating to COVID-19. The site can look legit but is set up to steal information or infect the victim’s computer with malware.

You may get an email promising the attached information offers coronavirus safety measures, or information shared by the World Health Organization (WHO) if you click on the link, or a similar email pretending to be from a reputable news source, such as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

In another example, an email impersonating a healthcare company’s IT team asked people to register for a seminar “about this deadly virus.” Anyone who didn’t question why IT was organizing the meeting clicked to register. By filling out the form, they gave their details to hackers.

What to Do

Be cautious. It’s understandable that you’re anxious, but don’t let that stop you from taking cyber precautions. You should still:

  • be wary of anything that tries to play on your emotions and urges immediate action;
  • question where emails are coming from – remain vigilant even if the communication appears to come from a reliable source;
  • hover over links before clicking them to see where they will take you – for example, in the WSJ example, the Web address was for the “worldstreetjournal”;
  • avoid downloading anything you didn’t ask for;
  • doubt any deals that sound too good to be true (“a mask that stops the virus 99.7% of the time!”);
  • ignore any communications requesting your personal information;
  • don’t be suckered by fraudulent pleas for charity.

Global health organizations generally do not send out emails with advice. Instead, navigate directly to that reputable health institution for real news.

If you’re still not sure about the validity of the communication, check it out. Do so by calling or using another medium to get in touch with the “source” of the received message.

While there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19, you can put anti-virus protection on your computer. Also, make sure that you’ve applied all available security updates to keep your software safe.

We hope you’ll take care and stay healthy both physically and online in these tough times.

Need help installing security software and keeping your technology safe? Our cybersecurity experts can give your home a tech immunization. Contact us today at 615-502-0552!


How to Stay Focused Working from Home

Working from home is not for everyone – we’ve all heard that said before – but many of us worldwide are now being forced to work from home. It can be challenging, especially when you have to adapt in the midst of all the other uncertainties COVID-19 has brought. These strategies can help you stay focused when working remotely.

Reserve your office space

Set up a temporary home office. Pick a space, if you can, that is away from distractions and has a door that you can close. Try to organize this space so that you feel more as if you’re going into the office. Clear those personal bills and photo albums waiting for assembly from your desk.

Creating a distinct space can help with the mental association that you are going to work. You’ll also find it easier to focus if you dress as you would for work. Shower, and put on makeup if you normally do. Getting out of your pajamas and putting on your “game face” puts you more in work mode.

Stick with your routines

Keeping a similar schedule can help, too. If you go to the office at a certain time every day, that’s when you should show up at your home workstation. If you took breaks at consistent times when on-site, do the same at home. This helps tell your brain it’s business as usual, even when you’re working in the laundry room on a folding card table!

You may not be able to go out and grab a coffee or eat lunch out with colleagues, but you can still go have a cup in the kitchen or order lunch from a local business that’s delivering – help them to stay in business too!

If you used to write emails first thing, do that still. If your team had a weekly conference call Wednesdays at 11, try to keep that, too. You can use voice or video conferencing to stay in touch while remaining at a safe distance.

Avoid distractions

This is going to mean different things for people. Working from home with children is tough, especially as you’re now supposed to be supervising their online learning. Giving them a dedicated space for schoolwork can help to keep them motivated and away from you. You might tell younger children to expect your attention at breaks (e.g. “I’ll play three rounds of Candyland when the big hand reaches 12 and the little hand reaches 3”).

The news and social media are other traps for those working from home. No one is watching over your shoulder, and it’s easy to think, “I’ll just check …” That’s how you lose 30 minutes of productivity watching pandas wrestle on a zoo-cam.

Still struggling? You could consider setting up one operating system account for work and another for personal use creating different browser profiles. And if you’re still getting distracted, you could install a browser plug-in that forces you to stay on track.

Keep deadlines

Setting deadlines can help you stay motivated. The longer you have to get something done, the slower you’ll work – it’s inevitable. So, maintain some pressure by setting tight, but realistic targets.

Share your deadlines with other colleagues using an online task management tool. This can help with accountability.

Be patient

This is a stressful time, and you’re being asked to deal with many changes. So, you need to be patient. Working in sprints could help your motivation and attention span. You might set a timer and focus completely on work until the bell chimes. One theory is that the most productive people take a 17-minute break every 52 minutes, but you’ll want to see what works for you.

Another approach is to say you’ll do 30 minutes of good work on that thing you’re avoiding. Worst case: you get only 30 minutes of it done. At least you’re further ahead. But you might find it only takes 30 minutes to complete or that you’re so close to finishing that you keep going and get the job done.

Have the right tech

Make sure you have the right tools to do your job. Working from home is challenging enough, so make it easier with reliable internet and Wi-Fi connections, and access to the required files.

Need help with working from home? We can’t actually be there to cheer you on and keep you motivated, but our tech experts can get you set up with the most efficient home office solutions. Contact us at 615-502-055 today!