Helping Workers at Home | Helping Offices Adapt Spaces
Bay Area companies are beginning to realize the unexpected challenges of the hybrid work model. The more critical focus is on ensuring a consistent experience for all employees, regardless of whether they work in the office or work remotely. But a pretty big challenge is seamless connectivity and home computer repair. Who reworks the new office tech and who helps the worker while at home? Our local team of computer and Wi-Fi experts is here to help. For many services, we can provide remote computer and office support without having to come to you.
ClickAway Home Office & Home Learning Services
If you can't find the specific service you are looking for, give us a call 800-960-9030.
Connecting Hybrid Staff With Office Staff – & Fixing It When It Breaks
Over the past year, ClickAway took over the role of at-home support. We’re the outsourced IT department on-call. We have seen a significant increase in repairing computers, printers, WiFi, and more in homes of hybrid staff.
The Newly Rearchitected Workplace Requires Flexibility
ClickAway network architects and computer experts are being called in to facilitate the hybrid change in small and medium-sized businesses. Portability, flexibility, ease-of-use, and integrated support for an entire ecosystem of software, support for the cloud, data-driven communication and collaboration tools, and security are vital tenets in this newly rearchitected workplace. One-time IT projects go hand in hand with the new hybrid work model.
Here are some additional changes we are involved in:
- Open office floor plan – ClickAway might be called in for rewiring, cabling, mesh WiFi placements and more.
- Quiet areas that resemble a library
- Areas that are spread out but still spark interactions
- VR meeting technology
- Technology that allows people to take walking meetings throughout their campus or around the neighborhood
- Outdoor workspaces
- The continuous data stream from WIFI access points, cameras, and other IoT sources
Call us 800-960-9030 or schedule an appointment to get a free site assessment in your office or small business.
Trying to get started yourself?
You have your sweatpants on, hand sanitizer ready and snacking your way through emergency rations. You’ve officially joined the ranks of the newly remote workers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to work from home – setting up an optimum home office environment
Even though many of us have now had time to adjust to working from home, converting our largely comfort-focused homes into efficient professional workspaces can still pose a challenge. Understanding how to work from home almost certainly requires a computer, wireless router, and modem. But there are also essentials like desks, chairs, and monitors to less obvious things help one stay productive day in and day out.
The technical stuff
- Headphones, especially if you don’t live alone
- Apple Magic Keyboard if you work on a really small laptop.
- Ergonomic keyboard. The one issue with flat keyboards like Apple’s Magic Keyboard is that too much time typing at one can result in sore wrists at best and carpal tunnel (or more) at worst.
- Dual monitors. Imagine having room for two documents side by side on your screen, rather than having to flip back and forth between them. It makes work so much faster.
- Tablet stand
- Flexible phone holder
- Laptop stand
- Data backup plan
- Wireless mesh extender
- Surge protector with long extension
These are just some suggestions to answer the “how to work from home?” question. opens in a new windowClickAway provides both computer upgrades, computer repair, wireless network extenders, monitors and more. Call us today for a site inspection.
Technology & Internet Hiccups – Challenges of Working From Home
Nothing makes a remote worker shake in fear as much as an internet outage. Or, perhaps, when your computer breaks. Both are your problems to solve and are significant challenges of working from home.
Many couples have worked remotely for years and by far the biggest challenge is being able to rely on a stable and fast internet connection. Sure, you do your research ahead of time, but that doesn’t mean that the speed and stability is guaranteed, particularly in developing countries.
Many public Wi-Fi hotspots can also be spotty. And even with a decent internet connection, video conferencing apps aren’t always reliable, so virtual meetings can be an exercise in frustration.
For peace of mind, and to avoid delays in your work, have a backup plan. A mobile hotspot device like a MiFi or a cell phone plan that allows tethering can save you when your internet goes out. A backup computer, or maybe even a tablet, can get you through the day until you can get your computer fixed. opens in a new windowClickAway has been making house call since 2002 and we can also remote in to your computer for a quick look or fix.
If you’re still working or studying from home for a while longer, here’s how to boost wifi signal at home and get your internet up to speed, finally. Some internet service providers have have increased speeds for low-income customers while others have suspended broadband data caps. Sure, that makes the internet to your front door less of a bottleneck, but eliminating subpar speeds and Wi-Fi dead zones around the house is largely up to you. ClickAway provides a wide range of network installation and repair services in your home should you prefer to have us do this quickly for you.
Tips to boost wifi signal at home
1. Move Your Router
That router in the closet? Not a good idea. Walls, cupboards, even bookshelves can potentially dampen your Wi-Fi signal. Physically moving the router can make a real difference to the speeds you get and how far its wireless transmissions can reach. The perfect spot will depend on your home, but try not to hide your router in a corner, or under a cupboard, or inside a drawer—the more central and prominent it is, the better.
You might need to apply some creative cabling to get your router in a better place, but it’s going to be worth the effort for the end results. Yes, ClickAway also does cabling work inside homes and businesses should you need our help. The goal is to get your main devices—consoles, laptops, and so on—as close as possible to your router. Devices that don’t need quite so much bandwidth, like smart thermostats, don’t have to be a priority in terms of physical proximity.
If you don’t have a flat surface near the best spot, you can mount your router halfway up a wall. If possible, keep it away from other devices that use electromagnetic waves; that includes baby monitors, wireless keyboards, and even microwaves.
2. Use an Ethernet Cable
We sometimes forget: wires still exist! You don’t need Wi-Fi. A wired connection to your router is usually preferable to a wireless one. It’s faster and more stable, and can’t be affected by other devices or large fish tanks. The downside is, of course, that it limits where your devices can be, and it’s less convenient overall.
Still, for devices that need the fastest internet possible—a gaming console or a streaming box, for example—it’s often well worth the effort to run a wire. The router will have a handful of Ethernet ports to spare, so all you need is a cable.
To do a really tidy job and avoid having wires trailing across your floor, you’ll need to deploy some cable management. Wall brackets keep the Ethernet cable fixed to the walls. If you have several cables running the same direction adhesive wall mounts work well. For one or two gadgets, it can be worth the extra setup.
3. Change the Channel or Band
Wi-Fi signal is divided into channels. Your router uses a particular Wi-Fi channel to communicate with the devices around your home, and if you have neighbors living very close who have routers using the same Wi-Fi channel, then everything can get congested quickly. Switching to a different channel can solve this problem.
4. Upgrade Your Router
Routers vary significantly in functionality and price, but in this case the upgrade to make is generally in terms of how far your Wi-Fi is broadcast. If you have a large house, you’re likely better off with a router that can pair with “repeaters” that broadcast signal into the furthest reaches of your home. Smaller homes and apartments can generally get by with a simpler system. For larger homes we recommend a mesh network, where you install multiple router nodes around your house. ClickAway always has several brands of routers and mesh networks in stock.
5. Get a Wi-Fi Extender
If messing around with your router settings seems too daunting, and you have a few dollars spare, invest in a Wi-Fi extender or repeater. These devices plug into a spare wall socket, connect to the wireless internet getting beamed out by your router, and then extend it further.
They’re (usually) simple to set up, easy to use, and can instantly get rid of Wi-Fi dead zones in your house. The extended or repeated wireless signals won’t be as strong as the ones coming straight from your router, though, so again positioning is important. Try and use these devices to connect up gadgets that don’t need a huge amount of bandwidth.
6. Use Your Electrical Wiring
An alternative to extenders is a powerline kit. Digital signals can pass through electrical wiring, and powerline devices are designed to take advantage of this. Several manufacturers make powerline networking kits, including Netgear and TP-Link.
It works like this: You connect a powerline plug up to your router, and then put the plug into a wall socket. Add another powerline plug in any other room in your house, and it can then provide a wired or wireless connection to that room. There will be some drop in speed, but it’s a simple and effective option.
Unless your home is particularly old, it should have electrical wiring that supports this, but it’s best to buy your kit from a retailer with a robust return policy, just in case.
7. Password Your Wi-Fi
We probably don’t have to tell you this, but you need a password on your Wi-Fi. It’s good for keeping hackers away, and keeping neighbors from Netflixing off your bandwidth, which will definitely slow you down. Make sure you use AES encryption, which is both the most secure and most speed-friendly security option.
8. Cut Off Unused Devices
It also helps boost wifi signal at home by reducing the number of devices on your network. Having dozens of things tapping into the Wi-Fi at once can be problematic. Plug anything you can into Ethernet, and unplug anything you have connected but don’t need (like that “smart” tea kettle you never once got to work). Make sure only the things that need internet get internet.
Good routers (all of the routers listed above for example) offer controls to prioritize a particular device or service. It’s a handy way to make sure your games never get interrupted by someone else streaming videos on Facebook.
9. Check Your PC
This tip is specific to computers: If the internet on your PC or laptop is perpetually slow, but other devices seem fine, open your Task Manager or Activity Monitor and see what programs are running in the background. Certain programs could be set to auto-update that don’t need to be. If they’re always updating in the background, that could be the cause of your slow internet. Check it out and adjust the settings.
10. Restart Your Router?
We’ve read this tip many times on the web, but we were skeptical. Restarting your router on a regular basis sounds like an extension of the age-old pseudosolution to everything digital: Reboot it. Yes, we know restarting your router can sometimes fix dead internet, but we asked router maker Netgear: Does regularly rebooting your router help boost wifi signal at home? The short answer is probably not.
11. Call Your ISP
If you’ve tried it all, and still unable to boost wifi signal at home, you can always reach out to your internet provider and see if they have any suggestions. They may want to send a service technician out. They might be able to pinpoint an overlooked issue that is getting in the way of you and fast Wi-Fi. With the ongoing coronavirus situation, you may not want strangers in your house, and your ISP may not have technicians available to send. Still, if none of the rest of these tips solves your problem, it’s time to reach out to your provider to ask some questions.
Give opens in a new windowClickAway a call with any questions to help you boost wifi signal at home. One of our network technicians will be happy to take a look.
Tips to get better quality virtual meetings
Continuing to work from home might sound great, but having to do all your own IT work is becoming a hassle. The last thing you want is to have a technical issue right when it’s time for a video call; there’s no one to help troubleshoot your connection, and it can really get in the way of a productive afternoon. Aside from having ClickAway at your beck and call, make sure everything is right before the call begins. Here’s how to get better quality virtual meetings from home, or wherever you might be working from.
Clear Out the Bandwidth Hogs
One of the downsides of video chats are the pixelated screens and choppy audio that comes with lackluster bandwidth. Make sure the smart devices in your home aren’t hogging the connection to ensure better quality virtual meetings.
If the kids are streaming video games or Disney+, the robot vacuum is mapping your home, or hefty software programs are running on your PC, all that activity could disrupt your video call at an inopportune time.
To start, check your internet speed to know what you’re working with and whether you’re getting what you pay for. Make sure your wifi is password protected so a neighbor isn’t using up your connection’s resources.
Log In Early
Don’t wait for the meeting to start to find out your connection is bad or your software doesn’t work properly; test it before the conference starts. You can do this in Zoom by using the program’s test feature. WebEx also has a Personal Room that can be used for testing.
In Skype, click your profile picture and select Settings > Audio & Video Settings, and there should be a camera preview under the Video section. You can also look for Sound Test Service in your Skype contacts to test audio quality.
Go With a Wired Connection
If Wi-Fi is still giving you trouble, fish out that dusty Ethernet cable for a direct connection, which should hopefully cut down on any potential speed issues or sudden dropouts while video conferencing. If your laptop doesn’t have an Ethernet port, pick up a cheap USB to Ethernetor Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet adapter from ClickAway or Amazon
Don’t rely on your computer’s iffy built-in microphone and speakers. Find yourself a nice Bluetooth headset or even gaming headphones to use when you’re on a call. They connect easily to your computer while also offering comfortable over-ear fits with a strong microphone.
Don’t Forget a Charger
Long conference calls can drain a laptop battery pretty quick. And you don’t want to have to step away from the meeting to find your charger as battery warnings blink on your screen. Make sure your laptop is plugged in and powering up. There are also some portable chargers powerful enough to recharge your laptop in a pinch.
Have a Backup Plan
No matter what program you use, have a backup plan in case something goes awry, whether that’s switching to an audio-only call or throwing in the towel and realizing you’re in a meeting that could’ve been an email. opens in a new windowClickAway makes home office visits as well as provides remote access repair services. Give us a call today.
If you have any additional questions or would like to schedule a call please contact us on the phone or schedule an appointment directly online.
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Kudos for ClickAway!
ClickAway is licensed and insured, and has been a member in good standing of the Better Business Bureau since October 2003.
We’re rated A by Angie’s List members and are a four-time Super Service Award winner, including for 2012! Only 5% of Angie’s List companies achieve this high honor!
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San Jose Mercury News readers voted ClickAway Best Place for Computer Repair two years in a row! With 674,600 readers, the Merc is the source for Bay Area info. Visit opens in a new windowmercurynews.com