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Innovation

Home workers: The importance of backup connectivity

If your work depends on a solid connection to the web, be prepared for those times when that connection is broken.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor on
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Many home workers in today's workforce do a lot, if not all of their work online. The connection to the web is mandatory for the productivity demanded of them. No matter what connection to the web is used at some point the conduit to work will be broken. It is important to have a backup plan for those times.

The plan can be as simple as working outside the home office by setting up in a coffee shop or other venue with web access. These are easy to find and most offer free Wi-Fi to paying customers. 

If you set up for the day in one of these spots, be prepared to make the most of it. Working in a new location is not as efficient as that familiar office back home. The last thing you want to have happen is to have your productivity go down significantly due to poor planning.

Be sure you grab everything you need before heading out the door to work for the day. The one thing you forget will be the first thing you need when it's not handy.

Telecommuters are often under the watchful eyes of the taskmasters back at the office due to concerns that working outside the office is not for everyone. You don't want your productivity to go down or worse, miss a project deadline due to your home office connection problems.

Another option that is more expensive but has the benefit of letting you keep working in your own office is a mobile broadband plan of some sort. This might be a 4G LTE data plan with a mobile hotspot device, or as easy as a tethering plan with your smartphone.

Whichever method you use to tap into a mobile broadband connection, make sure you have a big enough data cap to do so all day. The unlimited plan is rapidly fading away, and most plans now have a monthly cap.

Working for extended periods over mobile hotspots can plow through quite a bit of data so don't do anything to make it worse than it needs to be. That little YouTube video you watch when nobody's looking? Don't do that, it will eat up your data cap quicker than anything.

If you use a smartphone or mobile hotspot device for the day, keep it plugged in if you can. Mobile data tethering, especially LTE, can go through a gadget's battery in just a few hours. You don't want it to die just when you need to send that report in to headquarters.

When your home connectivity dies, having a plan for redundant web connectivity is not all you should be prepared for. Be prepared to spend time, usually far too much of it, dealing with the provider of that dead connection. It needs to get fixed quickly and unfortunately that usually means hours on the phone with tech support to get it back up. Murphy will make sure this happens when you can least afford to spend the time, but you're going to have to do it.

Working at home is great as many of us can attest, as long as things run smoothly. They don't always do that, so be prepared to deal with the occasional outage. It's one thing to stay off the web for a while for your mental health, but another entirely when your job depends on it.

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