How To Work From Home Safely. Our Top 5 Tips.
It’s not that long ago when the term ‘social distancing’ wasn’t part of our lexicon. The world has changed beyond recognition in a very short space of time and we’ve all had to adapt to new ways of living and working.
With much of the world working from home, many for the first time, keeping yourself safe and secure has thrown up new challenges. If your new office arrangements have found you working alongside family members, noisy kids, messy roommates and pets, you probably have found a new respect for the colleagues you’re missing in the office, even the annoying ones!
Working in your home brings up some issues that many people don’t think about. With that in mind, we thought it would be useful to share some of our best tips and tricks for making the whole ‘work from home’ experience a much safer and more secure one for you and those you’re sharing space with.
1. ROUTER SAFETY
Normally we don’t think too much about our home router, other than when we’re trying to get a Wi-Fi signal in the bathroom or worrying whether the neighbours are stealing it, but it’s probably going to be your lifeline to the outside world.
When it comes to security, most people stick with the default password that comes with the router, but when you’re transferring sensitive work data through it, it’s a good idea to change that to something else.
It’s important for you to be in charge of who connects to your network so change the password from the default (which is usually easy to guess and standard for that router) means you’re secure from hackers (and tech-savvy neighbours).
Don’t use passwords that are easily guessable, instead, make them unique for each account, so a breach of one password doesn’t mean a complete breakdown of all of them.
2. VPN IS AOK
If you are using your home network, you can enhance its security by utilising a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. Your company may be insisting on it already, but if not, it’s a great way to protect and anonymise the data you’re using.
If not, your passwords, account information and personal data can be intercepted easily by the more unscrupulous members of society (or those tech-savvy neighbours again).
3. VIDEO CONFERENCING
You’ve probably never used video conferencing as much as you have recently. Whether you’re using Skype, Zoom or House Party, video calls are a great way to connect to family, friends and colleagues.
Most of us concern ourselves on whether we look good when the camera comes on, but there’s something lurking in the background. Literally, the background.
If you’re using video conferencing for work or the kids are using it to connect with friends, it’s useful to be able to either blur the background or even replace it completely with a different picture to prevent prying eyes from checking out your home.
It’s also useful to be able to familiarise yourself with the mute button, so when you’re not speaking, the rest of the call won’t be interrupted by any noises the rest of your house is making. Having your most important client listening to your kids having a sibling shouting match won’t sound very professional.
4. LOCK YOUR SCREENS
Working from home can provide many more distractions than the office. Getting up to make a cuppa, checking Netflix (purely for business reasons obvs.) or putting an end to that sibling shouting match all combine to take you away from your screen.
Whether you’re using a laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone, when you get up and move away, remember to lock the screen or invoke the screensaver (make sure you have password protection turned on).
This will stop anyone in the house seeing any sensitive or confidential data you may have on-screen.
If you have house- or room-mates with a weird sense of humour, it will also stop them from editing any data (with hilarious consequences).
5. BACK-UP REGULARLY
If you’re using your own computer, rather than the one sitting on the desk in the office, backing-up might not be part of your usual routine (if not, it REALLY should be!).
Hard drive failure is a very real problem and if it’s not backed-up, then you’re going to lose everything (probably). It’s something that most people think won’t happen to them, but with the kids (or pets) running around, the chances of a drink ended up covering your computer is very real.
Another good tip is that, if you knock it over yourself, blaming the kids is much easier. ;-)
We hope you’ve found these tips useful. If you’ve got some of your own, we’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below so other people can see them.
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