Professional Tips for Working from Home (and When to Turn to an IT Pro)

When you’re working from home, IT isn’t exactly just a phone call away.

Many of us are working from homes for the first time, and while it’s been great to have constant access to the pantry, the downside is that IT can’t quickly step in if you have a problem. That’s why, today, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to keep the IT blues away while working from home.

5 IT Tips for Working From Home

#1. Keep a close eye on the battery.

If you’re used to working from a desktop computer, you don’t have to think twice about the battery running out, because it’s plugged directly into the wall. But, when you’re working from a laptop, it’s important that you keep an eye on your battery, especially if you’re working somewhere you can’t keep your laptop plugged in all day long.

Why is it so important to keep a close eye on your battery? An unexpected power loss can create all kinds of mayhem, from losing your work to causing damage to your laptop’s operating system.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in what you’re doing and forget to keep an eye on your battery power. Try to find a workspace near an outlet so that you can keep your laptop plugged in, or set a timer to look at the battery every couple of hours (depending on how long your laptop battery typically lasts.

#2. Make sure that your laptop can breathe.

Overheating is a common problem laptop users face, and it’s even more common with so many people now working from laptops on their laps these days. If you work with your laptop in your lap, especially if there’s also a blanket involved, it can block the fans that keep your laptop from overheating. The correct placement of your laptop is on a flat, hard, clean surface. This allows the proper ventilation to flow through your laptop, which makes it possible to “breathe.”

If your laptop’s fan is overactive on a regular basis, and you can feel your laptop getting hot all the time, you may also consider investing in a laptop that has cooling pads to prevent it from overheating.

Overheating can damage both the internal and external components of your laptop, and it can be pricey to fix. You can also help to prevent overheating by making sure the vents are free from dust and debris.

#3. Be careful with liquids.

If you’re anything like me, a cup of coffee is a non-negotiable part of your workday. However, you should be extremely careful about where you put that cup of coffee in relation to your laptop. You may also want to consider using a travel mug or something like it that won’t spill so easily if it’s accidentally knocked over.

Spilling something on your laptop can be incredibly damaging. In fact, liquid damage is the most common reason people take their laptops into a professional for repair, and what’s more is that the average cost to fix a laptop for liquid damage is around $600. In some cases, liquid does so much damage to laptops that it requires full replacement.

Another potential cause of liquid damage to your laptop is cleaning. With coronavirus, we’re all more vigilant about cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and your laptop certainly qualifies. But, it’s critical to clean it the right way to avoid damaging your laptop. Never spray any fluid directly on your laptop. Instead, eliminate germs with a lightly moistened washcloth.

#4. Protect your wifi network.

With so many people now newly working from home, it makes sense that many more people are also working from their private wifi networks. Unfortunately, if your wifi isn’t secure, it can open you up to all kinds of risks.

If your network isn’t secure, it makes it easier for just about anyone to connect to it, giving them access to your data and computer, your usernames and passwords, and your online search data. Here’s what you can do to protect your home wifi network:

  • Create a unique password – Don’t leave the default password for your router. Instead, create a new one, but make sure that it’s long and complicated enough not to be easily hacked into.
  • Disable network name broadcasting – This feature makes it easy for customers to connect to free wifi in select businesses, but it’s unnecessary to enable in private homes.
  • Have a good firewall – While most routers come with a built-in firewall, not all do, and not all firewalls are automatically enabled. If your router doesn’t have a firewall, get a good one, and if it does, make sure that it’s turned on.

#5. Keep your screen locked.

If you are living and working all by yourself, then you probably don’t need to worry too much about your laptop being unlocked. However, if you’ve got kids, or even pets, it’s well worth the seconds it takes to log in to lock your computer screen after a few minutes of inactivity.

All it takes is one rogue paw or sticky finger for the draft of that unfinished email report you’ve been putting together to be sent out, and if your pets are anything like mine, they’re constantly trying to squeeze themselves in my lap between me and my laptop. Besides, keeping your laptop locked is just a good habit to get into for when you eventually go back into the office. If you let yourself get lax about laptop security now, it’ll be easier to let it slip in the future.

While there’s a lot you can do to protect your laptop from home, when damage occurs, you shouldn’t hesitate to turn to a professional when you need one instead of trying to address the problem yourself. The last thing you want to do is cause more damage to your laptop.

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