Many millions of employees and teachers have been asked to work from home to protect the spread of corona virus. If you are one of them, you’ve probably been given or already had IT equipment owned by your company to enable you to continue to do your work from home.
Schools and businesses invest heavily in this equipment and will want to ensure it remains a valuable asset on their balance sheet, so we thought we’d provide our top tips for using company IT equipment at home.
We are going to cover:
- Usage guide
- Safe operation
- Equipment care
- Well being
The two very obvious risks here are theft and cyber security threats. When not using your devices we strongly recommend that they are securely locked away in a cupboard or an insurance approved safe. You may also need to double check that the equipment is insured either through your company or your household insurance policy and what the specifics of cover entail as there could be conditions of cover you need to be aware of. Also ensure that the device is encrypted if there is any personal or sensitive company data contained on the internal disk.
Many security breaches start with an email. Our advice is to be extra vigilant and wary of clicking links in innocent looking emails as these could contain viruses or websites posing as legitimate websites in order to harvest your username and password.
If you are transferring files which have confidential data in them, consider using security encrypted passwords or password protected file transfer software such as Microsoft OneDrive. Microsoft 365 offers the ability to send encrypted email, as do services such as Egress Switch.
IT Usage Guide
As this business IT equipment has been issued to you for work use, if you have your own laptop or computer we recommend you keep work separate from personal and vice versa.
If you do not have your own equipment we recommend that you obtain permission from your employer to use work equipment for personal use and ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions of use. Most companies will have strict IT Usage Policies that include restrictions on what websites can be visited such as social media, dating and gaming channels.
Remember, if you do use work equipment, files you save to your device and your internet browser history may become visible to the work IT department whenever you log in to the company network.
Safe Operation of IT Equipment
The optimum set up is to create a dedicated area or room for work so that you can switch off. However, if you have been unable to dedicate a room for work and the settee or kitchen table has become a temporary desk, be mindful of how you connect devices and route electrical cables so that they do not become a fire risk or trip hazard. Try to avoid using extension cables if at all possible and leaving devices charging whilst unattended such as overnight.
Your employer might also want you to complete a personal risk assessment as part of their duty of care to ensure your ‘working set up’ promotes good posture and wellbeing. We advise that you follow their guidelines.
IT Equipment Care
Working at home could mean a temptation to eat or drink near your equipment. This risks crumbs getting stuck in your keyboard and drinks spillages. Working from home means that your IT team won’t be on call to carry out repairs and your ability to work could be impeded for some time. So always pack equipment away or eat away from the desk space you have set up. If you have children at home ensure they know this equipment is not for their use.
When you are working from home it can be easy to get carried away and let time to fly by without taking enough breaks. Equally it can also be difficult to get motivated. Our advice is to set a daily list of task and allocate set breaks that also include your daily exercise.
Take the time to set up interactions with colleagues and friend via video conferencing and try to have a mix of socially fun things like quizzes and on-line versions of team ‘kitchen’ catch ups, as well as formal discussions about work. Be sympathetic with your scheduling though and consider the home environment of others and what might be convenient for you, might not be the best time for them.
IT Connectivity at Home
The speed of your internet connection may be crucial to your wellbeing and motivation if you are having to wait long periods between keyboard actions. This could also impact your ability to be productive. Our article ‘making the most of home internet connection’ has some other useful tips that may improve connection speed and the way you use company IT at home.
Link ICT provides businesses and schools with secure high speed internet connections. We can also install dedicated business lines into private residences. If we can help please get in touch.