Humans are masters at adaptation. It’s innately in us to adapt to circumstances, environments, and anything life throws our way. During these trying times, the world is learning to adapt to this temporary new normal; however, the COVID-19 virus has created a state of feeling out of control for all small business owners who had to move their business to a remote home office. Fortunately, we have control over how we spend our time, and it can be spent productively. Rather than focus on the hardships, we must control what we can. Here are the best tips to put existing technology to work when you operate from your home office:

1. Take advantage of free communication tools when you work from home

One solution doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s why there is a multitude of free tools available. Communication when you work from home can be as easy as data recovery with a reliable data backup plan. Below are examples of these services, all of which we have used at one time or another here at eSilo:

  • Zoom.us is getting a lot of press these days, both good and bad.  It’s best known for video conferencing and screen sharing when you work from home.  Free plans allow 1-on-1 communication without any time limits, whereas group meetings have a 40 min limit.  If you’ve been hesitant to join video meetings because your home office is a little messy, you can opt to use Zoom’s virtual background feature.  There are some neat options like a galaxy background that are sure to give a needed laugh.
  • Freeconferencecall.com is another option that can be used with or without a computer for those who work from home. Your attendees can join through their web app or just by dialing into your personal conference call number and entering your call’s unique passcode.  Meetings can have unlimited callers and last up to 6 hours. 
  • UberConference is another conference-call app that allows screen-share, has HD video meetings and allows a custom “hold” ringtone. Again, some fun bonuses! As the meeting host, you can easily see and manage everyone who’s connected to your call via your dashboard. This is especially helpful when you need to mute someone with a noisy dog (or kid) in the background of your home office.
  • Google Hangouts has many of the same features as the tools above.  It supports group calls, video calls, and sharing screens all without downloading any additional software on your work-from-home computer. Mobile users can also join via the Hangouts app on iOS and Android.  A (free) Google login is required to access this service.

2. Keep a Tech Bag or Drawer at Your Home Office

Have you ever scavenged the entire house to find one item? Working remotely requires tech, on tech, on tech! To avoid any unnecessary downtime by frantically searching cables, adapters, USB sticks, etc., be sure to organize. Utilize a spare bag or drawer to store all of your accessories when you work from home, so you are prepared for any video meetings or projects quickly. Organization for optimization!

3. Watch Out for Phishing Emails

While some use hardships for good, some take advantage of the negativity for their gain. During this time, be extra vigilant for possible phishing emails and scams. A well-written phishing email will look innocent enough.  It may appear to be from a trusted friend or acquaintance, and contain links to seemingly reputable sites or companies. However, these emails often include links or attachments that are infected with ransomware and can steal your information or infect your work-from-home computer. Watch out for suspicious emails, make sure you have spam filtering turned on and have installed up to date anti-virus software on all your machines. To learn more about pro strategies in fighting against ransomware, read our free ebook Ultimate Guide to Defeating Ransomware.  

4.  Don’t Forget About Good (Data) Hygiene When You Work From Home

While working remotely, and especially if you are on a home PC, it is essential to remember to back up your business data. Whether you’re working for a large company or merely on a personal project, times like this can be unpredictable, and backing up your data is an insurance policy you must have. If you are an individual looking to back up personal files, eSilo is offering free Individual Starter Plans for a limited time.  Employers can also receive a significant discount (50%) on eSilo’s Business Backup Plans while we all navigate the new remote work environment. A solid data management strategy will enable you to protect your work at home–just as you would in the office. 

The world may be feeling out of control, but not to fear because you can control how you respond and adapt. The best way to adapt is to control what you can, and leverage the latest technology resources to change (and improve) how work gets done.  

We understand how hard it can be to manage your work when you work from home without the help of an IT department.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, worried about your business data, or would just like to talk to one of our experts, our team is here for you.  We’re used to working 100% remotely, and would be happy to share our work-from-home tips for a stress-free transition to working from home.  Feel free to contact us or take a look at our current small business and individual plan discounts. We are here to help! 

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small business owner working from home