More than 40 percent of the US workforce is currently working remotely. And while that offers flexibility, it can come with a few technology hiccups. Here are simple solutions to make working from home a breeze!
Improve Wi-Fi with a foil wall.
Central to any success when working from home is the internet connection. To get a free “upgrade,” just grab tin foil. “Often, the reason Wi-Fi is slow is because the signal can’t reach where you are in the house,” says IT expert Tierra Wilson. “If you can’t move your router closer to you, ‘direct’ the signal instead.” That’s where the foil comes in. Just tear off a piece big enough to fit behind the router and place it so it’s facing your home office. The Wi-Fi signal will bounce off the aluminum toward your work space. Bonus: A recent Dartmouth study found that directing your Wi-Fi with foil also boosts security by limiting how much of the signal escapes your house — thwarting would-be hackers!
Speed your computer up by clearing out clutter.
There’s nothing worse than trying to finish a project only to be stymied by a slow computer. The number-one reason computers get sluggish? Too many programs operating in the background, says Wilson. “You may not even realize a program is running, especially if you haven’t restarted the computer for a while.” Rebooting your machine is the fastest fix because it automatically shuts down open programs. You can also see which programs are running via the “Task Manager” on a Windows computer or the “Force Quit” menu on a Mac, then select programs to quit. Do this once a week, because the longer programs are open, the more memory they tend to use.
Boost battery life by unplugging devices.
The best way to keep your devices’ batteries juiced up is by unplugging from time to time. “You want to use wireless devices off the charger until they hit 20 percent battery life, then let them charge again until they reach 80 percent,” says Wilson. “This keeps the battery from overheating, which can cause it to lose the ability to hold a charge over time.” Another easy battery saver: Turn down the brightness on your screen — you likely can go as much as one-third darker without even noticing the change. This simple step saves up to 15 percent of battery life on your phone and laptop!
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.