Following the COVID-19 outbreak, many people want to work remotely and enjoy the flexibility that comes with it. However, there has been no one-size-fits-all experience for all remote workers. Some have transitioned quickly and smoothly, while others still experience challenges.
Poor internet connections, computer crashes and a lack of communication are common tech problems remote workers have coped with. With limited IT support, most remote workers can’t easily overcome these issues and reap the full benefits of working from home
Solving common remote work technical challenges
Working from home exposes workers to various technical issues they won’t necessarily encounter while in offices. When working from the office, it's easy for workers to ping IT support for any unexpected tech glitch. Tech team members are usually available to assist in person — something remote workers have no direct access to.
Anyone working from home would benefit from learning how to troubleshoot to help diagnose and rectify issues by themselves. Here's a look at four specific remote work challenges and how to overcome them.
1. Constant cybersecurity threats
Working from home requires using different online collaboration tools to work effectively. There's a continuous flow of sensitive data from corporate and home locations to data centers, widening avenues of attack for cybercriminals. They'll try to take advantage of weak connections that don’t enjoy top-notch security features.
The result is vast exposure of the company systems through phishing emails and other malware attacks. If not contained, there’s a potential data loss and a considerable risk to the company's reputation.
Fintech News' 2020 Cybersecurity statistics revealed that attacks targeting home workers climbed five-fold in six weeks since the shutdown. As a result, remote workers need to troubleshoot and find the right fixes to protect home offices from potential cyber threats.
How to fix cybersecurity threats at home
The most effective solution for cyber security threats is to avoid using public Wi-Fi when sharing crucial company data. You can also:
- Encrypt your data while working online.
- Have the right backup for all information.
- Install antivirus software.
- Use a VPN.
- Protect your computer’s identity.
Failure to implement these security measures may result in more data breaches, malware infections and ransomware attacks, putting your company's operations in danger.
2. Poor internet connection
Out of all the common challenges remote workers face, weak internet connectivity significantly impacts productivity or efficiency.
Remote workers can experience internet connection issues more often, typically caused by many connected devices to one network, bad weather and old router hardware. An outdated computer, lack of fiber or a lackluster ISP (Internet service provider) may also cause slow connections.
A weak internet connection limits how easily you can work with your colleagues. You're likely to miss a crucial Zoom meeting or fail to submit work on time if your network constantly buffers.
How to cope with weak connections
Remote work requires a dependable and fast internet connection. Understanding how to resolve or eliminate all internet connection issues is critical to staying connected to your team and accomplishing projects on time. You can fix your internet connection by doing the following:
- Upgrade your modem and router.
- Match the throttle parameters to your employer's internet speed.
- Consider purchasing a mesh Wi-Fi system to improve your signal.
- Select the best internet bundle for your work and home needs.
- Configure router software to prioritize work-from-home tasks.
Although you may not enjoy the fast internet speeds available at the office, these quick-fix solutions will ensure your home internet connection is distributed more evenly throughout your home. It also helps if you have a backup plan, such as a mobile hotspot for emergencies.
3. Slow computer issues
Besides weak internet, your home computer can also be the primary issue limiting your efficiency. If you haven't replaced your home computer or even considered updating the software for a while, that could be an issue. Both outdated computers and software can slow down your productivity.
Before you consider other problems, confirm your device is up to date. RAM and disk space are some specs likely to cause problems if you don’t have enough.
Your windows PC may also slow down over time because of malicious software or too many programs.
How to fix slow computer speeds
Luckily, fixing slow computer speeds may only require updating the software. A system update will provide benefits, such as improved efficiency, speed and accuracy. Other recommendations include:
- Continuously scanning for viruses and malware.
- Uninstalling any unnecessary programs.
- Upgrade RAM or switch a hard drive to a SSD (solid-state drive)
A separate work computer is generally a good idea to avoid conflicts between work and personal files. You can easily keep your work computer organized and free of unnecessary programs that can slow it down.
4. Lack of collaboration and frequent file deletion
Collaboration is a real issue when working from home. Sometimes your supervisor might fail to attach the correct files for the assigned task or even allocate you tasks already assigned to another colleague.
Working remotely might also mean you end up sharing your computer with other family members. This puts you at risk of losing important information by accident.
How to fix the file sharing problems
Installing a project management software might help fix issues relating to collaboration. Programs such as Asana, Trello and Jira can help streamline duties, make communication between team members more open and provide easy monitoring for managers.
While you can always redo the lost assignments, the ultimate solution to accidentally deleting your work is to work in the cloud and back up all your data.
Remote work has numerous undeniable advantages, such as flexibility and increased production. However, it also exposes you to technical issues that can stifle your productivity and cause tremendous stress. The best way to deal with the typical work-from-home technological problems is to identify them and prepare ahead of time.