Common Tech Issues of Work-from-Home Employees

Most Employees Are Working From Home Due To COVID-19

Work-from-home sounds like the ultimate ideal working environment. It allows us to cook meals, do chores, snack anytime we want, and, best of all, stay in our pajamas all day. But while all those perks are valid, working from home isn’t free from difficulties and drawbacks.

For one thing, a poor internet connection ruins it completely. It will impede any action you make, right from accessing your work portal. And if you manage to worm your way in, you’ll face communication problems next, because opening your emails, let alone making video calls, will be practically impossible with a sluggish internet connection.

True enough, about half of new remote workers reported tech issues as their most common frustration. But it’s no wonder why the internet around the world has slowed down, considering that millions of us are now accessing the web at the same time due to the pandemic.

The problem is so serious that even Netflix announced that they’d be decreasing their transmission speeds across Europe to ensure the broadband network could manage. If even Netflix is already forced to downgrade like this, how much more will remote workers struggle?

Internet Connectivity: The Number One Problem

If your Wi-Fi signal is strong in one area but weak in other spots, consider investing in a mesh Wi-Fi system. Popular brands are Google Wi-Fi and Amazon’s Eero.

A mesh Wi-Fi system lets you connect multiple access points of your home for a boosted signal. There will be the primary router directly connected to your modem, and a series of nodes placed throughout your home. They’re not the same with range extenders, which communicate with the main router via radio bands. Instead, the mesh Wi-Fi system lets the nodes and router talk to each other.

If your problem isn’t on the signal but the speed, the mesh technology will help. But if it persists even after you upgraded your Wi-Fi system, then you may already need to call your network provider and consider other options, such as upgrading to a more optimal plan. 

Your other option is using your smartphone’s hotspot, which may be useful since cellular networks are designed to accommodate plenty of users at once. So next time your Wi-Fi slacks off again, turn on your hotspot for a quick fix.

Stretched Networks

If you have kids or siblings in school, they’d also be stuck at home, sharing your internet connection. There’s no helping it since their online classes are most probably scheduled at the same time as your work. Hence, if your broadband is only 3G-powered, then don’t bother expecting a lighting-speed connection anytime.

The problem of stretched networks is exacerbated by the uneven spread of 4G and 5G networks. In the UK, in particular, 5G is only limited to 40 towns and cities across the country. So imagine the struggles of remote workers there living with avid gamers or online school students.

Upgrading to a fiber connection would be the ideal solution, but it isn’t an option for everyone, either. Broadband intensive sectors living in areas still served by copper-based networks aren’t likely to have access to it yet, so they remain prone to slow connections.

Poor-quality Video Calls

Many of us experience the repeated exchange of “Can you hear me?” during the start of a video call. If poor sound quality is your problem, try a wireless headset that has noise-reducing features. That will filter out external noises so you could hear the audio from the other line clearly and more loudly.

To improve video quality, invest in a high-end webcam and lighting equipment. These may even improve your mood because they make you look your best in video conferences.

Lagging Laptops

If you open multiple programs at once, your laptop will inevitably slow down. The problem is, a lot of programs continue to run even after being closed. So after pressing the “x” button, go to Windows Task Manager (for Windows users). Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, then select Task Manager. Click More Details in the bottom-left corner, and you’ll see the programs running on your computer. Select the programs you want to close, then click End Task in the bottom-right corner.

Another reason for a lagging laptop is the system needing an update. Hence, don’t ignore update alerts, because it will install new security patches and remove bugs.

But if you suspect that malware has invaded your computer, take it to a computer repair expert right away. You can spot and remove malware using your pre-installed anti-virus program, but if the damage is considerably more serious, a professional’s assistance may be necessary.

Poor speed is indeed a headache for anyone, whether they work, play games, or stream videos, so be mindful when installing new programs or clicking unfamiliar links. A fast internet connection will be rendered useless if your computer has died, so use your device well.

Meta title: Top Tech Challenges in the Work-from-Home Setup

Meta description: The pandemic has changed the workplace into a virtual setting, with employees operating from their homes. While proven efficient, it also sprouted challenges.

Author Image
Reed Hamilton

Mason Reed Hamilton: Mason, a political analyst, provides insights on U.S. politics, election coverage, and policy analysis.