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Working from Home Tech Tune-Ups

by Kurt Knutsson

Me and you along with millions of people are learning how to find the balance between home life and work life together in one space. Going to try to find the right furniture for your office space is just one piece of the puzzle, you also have software and programs and gadgets to purchase and setup if you want to be a team player.

Video calling apps are keeping colleagues together converting conference rooms into tiles of faces and voices bringing workers together remotely to collaborate and get the job done. But if you don’t know what to get and how to use it then your ability to be a part of the team can be compromised.

I’ve got some smart moves and gear to share with you beginning with the idea of separating work and home life space. Make sure you also have a good connection to your colleagues, for example by using software such as Wandera that helps to share documents and programs safely between staff. Using software like this, that has zero-trust network access to help with cybersecurity, will make your home working seem a lot less stressful and therefore keep you feeling more in touch with your colleagues. Find a location in your home that works best for calling it your workspace. For some they have a home office, can convert a bedroom or simply park at the dining table or a part of your space if living in tight quarters. This not only helps with organization, but also helps us mentally draw a line between work mode and living.

These Gear Upgrades make work life easier at home

My Passport Go SSB External Storage

Download all of your important work and home files onto a portable drive like this My Passport Go that’s pocket-sized and has models that hold 500GB, 1TB and the highest 2TB storage size. SSD means it’s a solid state device with no moving parts. This is my go to drive especially during times when I don’t want to rely on storing my world on a cloud elsewhere. It’s fast, reliable and plugs into USB jack on any device. I have the assurance that I’ve got what’s most important and I’m able to have control over my information. Working from home, this has made it easy to copy large files and move them to other devices in the house. My Passport Go SSB from WD 500GB $69.99

Logitech C920S HD Pro Webcam

Upgrade your existing web cam to this full HD video calling camera. Dual stereo mics and automatic noise reduction helps those on the other end of your video call hear much better. Use this with Skype, Google Hangouts and FaceTime for Mac. The light correction and auto-focus are solid. I like that the privacy shutter flips down to cover the lens when not in use. Logitech C920S HD Pro webcam $69.99

Facebook Portal TV Smart Video Calling on Your TV

This turns your big flat TV into a video calling screen. Facebook Portal TV keeps you connected over various services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. It’s Alexa-powered so you can start and a video by voice command. Alexa also connects Facebook Portal TV to other shared home devices like your video doorbell so that you can answer your door from inside your home. You are going to need an HDMI cable since its not included. Facebook Portal TV $149 from Facebook and Amazon

Tips & Tweaks for working from home

#1 De-clutter your video call background

Cleaning up the background of your video calls goes long way to keep casual out of business meetings by video. If you want to take on a more professional foot forward, get rid of clutter and novelty home items and create a clean, crisp background that shares your personality yet does not distract people from focusing on what you are saying on a video call.

#2 Upgrade your electrics

Many older houses have only a couple of plug sockets in each room because they just weren’t designed to be able to handle the number of devices we have today. This can be a nightmare for setting up your home office as it can leave you scrambling around on the floor trying to make your power cables reach through to the next room. Get a highly recommended panel upgrade so that you can install more plug sockets in each room without overloading the circuit. This is especially useful if you’ve been relying on extension leads that you keep tripping over.

#3 Turn on WiFi Calling

Not every room in your home gets a strong wireless signal. If yours is anything like mine, I was getting dropped and failed calls galore until I remembered to turn back on my wifi calling feature on my phone so that it could use my home WiFi network and provide more reliable coverage anywhere in range of my wireless network. I recently learned How to Get A Stronger Wi-Fi Signal in my home so switching to WiFi calling was really a no-brainer. You can also enter your address so that emergency calls to 911 will show your location. Here’s how to turn on WiFi calling:

Apple iOS: Settings > Phone > WiFi Calling and toggle it on. Restart your iPhone if its your first time using WiFi Calling

Android phones: Settings > Advanced Calling > enable WiFi Calling In some cases you may need to follow some extra steps for first time setup to activate Advanced Calling. Follow the steps to activate.

#4 Avoid Neighborhood WiFi HotSpots

The FCC has an initiative to open up access to public hotspots around neighborhoods throughout the U.S. While it may be beneficial for those who no other option, I think you are better off avoiding public hotspots as this is where hackers lurk the most and you are at your most vulnerable for an attack.

#5 Most asked Question: How to add more people to a FaceTime Call

You can invite up to 32 people to a Group FaceTime call.

In FaceTime app, tap the plus sign at top right > type names or numbers of people you to call in the entry field at the top > tap Video camera symbol to make a video call. Each person appears in a tile on screen. When someone speaks, or you tap the tile, that tile gets bigger. Tiles of shy people on the call appear in a row at the bottom.

To Add a person to a call tap the screen to open controls > swipe up from the top of the controls > then Add Person > enter their name, number or tap the Add button to add someone from Contacts

I know it’s a big transition when you are not accustomed to working from home. We are in this together and will rise again more powerful, smarter and capable. When you find anxiety knocking at your door, take a moment to breathe. You won’t need any technology to simply pause for a moment, take a deep breath and let it out knowing we will get through this. It works. And it’s true.

Share these important working for home tips with your friends and family.


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