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Tag Archives: home office

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to building your home office.

8 Ways to Make Your Home Office More Secure

8 Ways to Make Your Home Office More Secure

Millions of people around the world have found themselves working from a home office over the past month, and many of them were not prepared. You might have a home office set-up, complete with a comfortable workspace and the right equipment, but is your client’s information well-protected? You may need to step-up your security game.

We’ve shared tips before on how you can guarantee your individual device is secured, and there are more steps you can take to ensure your client’s assets remain safe. Here are a few steps you can take to move closer to that final goal.

  • Remember Basic Security: Let’s start with the standard practices you’re (hopefully) already doing. Install quality virus protection on your computer and work only on a secure Wi-Fi that’s backed-up by a safe password. Speaking of passwords, stop writing them down where anybody can find them. There are a number of affordable password managers available that will make your life easier and more secure.
  • Be Aware of Online Dangers: There are reports of more email attacks during the COVID-19 crisis. Now more than ever, be extra diligent before downloading an attachment or responding to an email that seems the least bit suspicious. Even if it appears to be coming from a co-worker you trust, if it seems out-of-the-ordinary, double check with a phone call to the supposed sender.
  • Don’t Ignore Security Updates: When your computer or software says that there are updates available for security purposes, take the advice and run the updates. Of course, given the previous point, if any update is suspicious, do your research before clicking the “Install” button.
  • Be Careful When Using the Cloud: Saving files to a cloud service such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive is a helpful idea for sharing files with coworkers, and often securely. Before doing so, ensure that it is an approved service by your client’s security team and that your credentials to that service are also secured.
  • Be Aware When Making Calls: The weather is going to become nicer which means your windows are going to be open and you may be in a fortunate situation where you can work on the back deck. Keep your phone conversations quiet because you never know who is listening.
  • Lock Things Up: So far we’ve been talking about electronic security, but physical items such as documents should also be considered when securing your home office. Break-ins happen and kids can get nosey. Set-up locks on your office and invest in a cabinet that locks to help keep client documents safe.
  • Keep Organized: Forget kids and burglars, your own disorganization could be the reason you misplace important documents or passwords get into the wrong hands. Spend a few extra minutes each day to keep your workspace clean and organized.
  • Shred Paper: If you print any documents that have any sort of private information, you should have a paper shredder in your home office. Your client depends on you to dispose of waste responsibly.

There is a lot of change happening that’s causing all of our lives to be a little more out of order. While some things will justifiably be missed, when working from home, it’s imperative that your client’s security remains at the top of your priority list. Could you improve the security in your home office?

How Mesh Wi-Fi can Improve Your Home Office

The cool part about an IT contractor’s home office is that it doesn’t need to be an “office”. With the right Wi-Fi connection and proper equipment, you could work at a desk, but you can also get work done in the living room, kitchen or even your back deck! That wireless network is crucial, though. Slow speeds can mean trouble connecting to client sites, patchy VoIP calls, and overall less productivity.

There are a few different solutions to boosting your Wi-Fi signal at home, but according to this video from TechQuick, Mesh Networks are ideal. Why? Watch the video and find out. It may not be too late to add one to your holiday wishlist!

7 Productivity Hacks for Work From Home Newbies

This post by Kiera Abbamonte was originally posted on the Freshbooks Blog on May 2, 2016.

7 Productivity Hacks for Work from Home NewbiesHaving the flexibility to work from home is a blessing. You get to tailor your workday to what works for you — so that means you’ll be super productive, right? Well, this isn’t always the case. Working from home (WFH) has its own way of messing with your schedule and making it difficult to get real work done.

When you work in an office all the time, a snowstorm or other excuse to WFH for a day is exciting; it’s a novelty, and you can indulge and allow yourself to be as productive as you want to be. You might have certain tasks that lend themselves to working from home, that you can focus on for that day.This can even create the impression that you’re more effective when you work from home.But when working from home becomes your new normal, you simply have to find a way to get all kinds of tasks done in that setting.

Now, there’s a lot of content out there about how to work from home effectively. And most of it all says the same thing — put on pants, have a designated workspace, communicate expectations with roommates and children, etc. Those tips probably work for some people, but they weren’t enough for me when I made the transition. Here are the few hacks that helped turn my apartment into my temple of productivity.

  1. Know Your Personal Rhythm

A lot of literature will tell you that getting up super early is the key to being productive. Today’s “most successful executives” supposedly wake up at 4am,work out and get 5 hours of work under their belt by 7am. I tried this for about 2 days before giving up. Getting up at 6am left me groggy and ready for a nice, long siesta by lunchtime — not exactly a recipe for doing good work.

The truth is that everyone has their own natural rhythm. Find out when you’re most productive and schedule your day around that time. If that means hopping out of bed at 4am, do that. If it means snoozing until 10 and working a little later in the day, go with that.

  1. Use Tools That Work for You

The best part of working from home in 2016 is there are so many tools to help you ace time management and productivity. You can find tools to help you schedule your day, write to-do lists, communicate with coworkers, and create the ideal environment for productivity, among other things. The trick is to find the optimal mix of tools that work for you.

Think about what areas you struggle with — is it prioritizing? Keeping track of long projects? Focusing? Once you know what you need help with, you can start experimenting with solutions. Find a recipe of tools that helps you be your most productive self. For example, I use Trello to manage projects, TextEdit to build my to-do list, and Rainy Mood to help me focus.

  1. Don’t Underestimate the Benefit of Distractions

When you’re in the office, distractions are all around you — the fully stocked kitchen, your coworker dancing at his desk, watercooler gossip, you name it. Working from a quiet room in your house can seem like a dream for productivity. But the truth is, those little office distractions can actually give your brain the quick breaks you need to dive back into work.

Sometimes a good distraction-filled environment is exactly what you need to get work done. It’s important to be able to recognize when your at-home environment just isn’t working today. When those days happen, simply relocating to a Starbucks or coworking space can make a huge difference. Remember, you have the flexibility to make a decision about what works for you every day: Don’t replace the office by shackling yourself to a home office that isn’t stimulating enough!

  1. Use Flexibility to Your Advantage

When I first started working from home, I was worried about keeping work and life separate. It was easy to do when I left the office at 5pm and didn’t have access to my work materials until the next morning. I was hyper-vigilant about when I stopped working for the day, but that sometimes meant interrupting the flow of my work. The reality is, some days it makes sense to work 10 hours instead of 8 — other days, 6 hours will do the trick.

Working from home gives you the flexibility to decide when it’s time to work and when it’s not. Some people will thrive on a super regimented schedule. But for me, allowing myself to work a little longer some days — without worrying about work-life balance going up in smoke — has helped keep productivity running.

  1. Be Deliberate About Taking Breaks

This is connected with the point about distractions being hidden blessings. Our brains can only focus on one thing for so long. In an office, all the distractions create inadvertent little breaks. When you don’t have those, it’s important to be very deliberate about taking time for your brain to relax during the day.

For me, that time is my lunch break. I make sure to take a real, genuine break (as in walk away from the computer) from 1-2pm. It’s easy to find yourself thinking about work even when you aren’t at the desk, so I try to be active during the break — reading or running errands — so my mind is always on other things.

  1. Don’t Stress Over an Off Day

Off days happen. You had them when you worked in the office, and you’ll have them working from home, too. While we work toward being super productive all the time, it’s natural to experience a lull in productivity every now and then. The danger is when you stress over it and let yesterday’s (un)productivity impact today.

The key to overcoming an off day is just to let it go. It’s cheesy but tomorrow really is a new day — and if you shake off yesterday, you can more than make up for any lost productivity.

  1. Fall in Love With Working From Home

Being able to work from home has its positives and its challenges. Getting it right doesn’t always happen immediately — but knowing yourself and your habits will take you a long way when it comes to settling into home work. You’re sure to fall in love with the flexibility and benefits of working from home once you do.

About the Author: Kiera Abbamonte is the Content Marketing Specialist for Citrix Grasshopper. She loves a good New England fall and finding new ways to make content awesome. Catch up with her on Twitter @kieraabbamonte.

9 Ways to Create a Productive Home Office

Is your home office organized in such a way that you’re at your peak of productivity? Surely there must be some ways that it can improve. Being more productive at home means that you have more time for yourself and more time to take on additional projects and earn extra income. So, it’s in your best interest to carefully review this infographic from Made. It provides information on how to set the mood in your office, choose the right colours, and select the best furniture, all to achieve maximum productivity.

9 Ways to Create a Productive Home Office (Infographic)

Contractor Quick Poll: Where do you work most?

Canadian winters are known for an abundance snow and terrible driving conditions. If you’re lucky, you’re set-up so you can work from a home office on those days and avoid the miserable traffic. What about the other days? Do you tackle the commute to get to a client’s office every morning, or, for the most part are you able to work from your home office? There will always be exceptions, like bad weather or specific meetings, but this month, we’re curious to know where our readers do most of their work.