Coronavirus forced us into unfamiliar territory. We swapped the morning commute for extra time in bed, repurposed the dining table as a desk, and we (re-)learnt long division, thanks to the added demands of home-schooling. Not only do we have a new level of respect for teachers, we’ve also learnt a thing (or five) about IT at home.
Here are a few things we learnt about IT during lockdown:
If you use a computer, you have to be remote
If we didn’t know this before, we definitely do now – working from home isn’t a ‘nice-to-have’. Here at Microbyte, as soon as lockdown loomed, we worked hard to get our clients and their teams remote. We also got a fair few thanks from customers we’d advised and set up months before it hit. Rather than on the back foot and losing hours of productivity, they were ready to go. Clients with 3CX had another layer of remote continuity. While so many businesses will have struggled with phone signal or handed out their home phone numbers, our 3CX customers were set up and secure. With a software-based VoIP system they got all the features and kept their office numbers.
We can’t survive without Teams
No, really. We can’t. Microsoft Teams has been a lifesaver for businesses locked into remote-working environments. With so many intuitive features it kept us collaborating and communicating. Logging on to Teams was like walking into the office. It helped us keep track of our days and know when it was time to switch off. Add a few backgrounds to cover up messy rooms, and meetings were almost normal! Teams has been an invaluable IT tool for businesses.
No one’s sure how they feel about Zoom
Although Zoom has many benefits and features, its reputation took a bit of knock with the “Zoom-bombing” trend. This was where unwanted users could infiltrate and interrupt meetings. While Zoom addressed many security concerns with new guidance and updates, the risk of gate crashers wasn’t exactly a good look. We’ll stick with Teams for now.
We rely on WhatsApp too much
It’s easy for the personal and professional to blur when you’re always at home. Keep WhatsApp for personal use to avoid the dreaded ‘Last seen at’ adding to the stress of professional deadlines. Not to mention the risk of sending a message meant for your partner to a colleague! If you need business messaging on your phone, download the Teams app.
Stronger passwords are a must
Not just to stop the neighbours from pinching the Wi-Fi. A proper remote setup adds layers of security, but weak passwords are still risky. Especially if your team are using their own devices (we recommend they don’t!) Strong passwords are essential in any environment but for businesses they’re paramount. If you’re working from home, a strong Wi-Fi and router admin password can protect the router’s connected devices and data. “Password1” won’t cut it.
Finally and most importantly…
We’ve learnt to feel grateful!
We’re grateful for all the things we took for granted before coronavirus was all we could think about. Health, safety and the ability to carry on in less than ideal circumstances. Things certainly haven’t been easy – and they might not be for a while – but there’s still a lot to be grateful for.