Coronavirus has people changing the way they think about work. With some countries closing down schools, workplaces insisting employees work from home, attendances at universities plummeting and major conferences and events being cancelled, it’s time to make sure you’ve got contingency plans in place in case you need to spend more time working or studying from home.
Make sure your connectivity is up to the job
If you’re going to work or study remotely, you want to ensure your connectivity game is up to scratch. Speedtest is a decent site to test your speeds.
If you’re relying on a fixed broadband connection, make sure the speeds are good for both upstream and downstream connectivity. While you may focus on downloads most of the time, online collaboration and video conferencing rely on solid upstream performance.
If you’re still on ADSL or an older HFC connection, you may find upload performance is poor – under 5Mbps. That’s where having enough data on your mobile plan can be useful. Generally speaking, cellular networks have better upload speeds than older fixed services. It may be worthwhile investing in a data-only prepaid SIM and use an older phone to tether your PC and tablet to rather than bumping up the monthly on your regular phone.
If you’re on the NBN and getting the performance you’re paying for, a 50/20 or 100/40 plan should be fine. Just make sure you’ve got a decent serve of GBs in case your data needs increase.
Check out your toolkit
Collaboration tools such as Office 365, Google’s massive suite of apps and others make online collaboration easy. If you’re working on a group assignment or project, being able to simultaneously edit a document with colleagues and exchange messages, either over IM or using video tools like Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts can make it feel like you’re in the room together.
Assuming your PC or tablet has a decent camera – anything less than about five years old will be fine – you’ll be able to easily video conference when needed.
Look at remote attendance options
While many major conferences and shows are being cancelled, there are lots are still taking place, albeit using streaming infrastructure for capturing and sharing event sessions. Many universities are boosting their remote presence tools to accomodate the increasing umber of students who are choosing to stay home rather than risk being in a lecture theatre with lots of other people.
Don’t be sloppy with staying clean
Working or studying from home in not an excuse to let personal hygiene slide.
Wash your hands after going to the loo (and yes boys, even if it’s just for Number 1), touching your face such as when you blow your nose or any other situation where you might pass a potential infection to your hands is one of the most important things you can do to prevent catching or spreading any infection.
Soap and water are best – wash for as long as it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday” twice or choose some other tune that lasts at least 20 seconds.
Hand sanitiser is good but hand washing is more effective.
Keep a good supply of snacks handy
If you’re like me, there’s a temptation to head out to the shops regularly to stock up on your favourite snacks.
Be judicious in stocking up and use will power to not eat your entire stash of lollies or chips on day one. That way, you can reduce the number of trips you make to the supermarket, potentially reducing your carbon footprint and minimising your risk of exposure.