Effective remote working
Find information on how to troubleshoot your own broadband issues, tips for smarter remote working and how to stay safe.
Internet connection issues
There will be a heavy strain on your internet connection whilst you work remotely. The below tips will are general guidance of how to help improve your broadband speed. If you are having issues with your broadband, please contact your provider.
Use a wired ethernet connection instead of wireless internet - You will get the best possible internet speed if you plug your computer directly into your router, rather than using wireless. Your device should have an ethernet port or you may need an adapter.
Reduce the distance between your computer and wireless router - Your wireless internet speed will decrease the further away you are from your wireless router. Stay as close as possible to your internet router for the best wireless speed. Whilst ensuring you still working in a suitable environment. Visit our occupational health web pages for more information on how to set up your remote working space.
Update old hardware or software - Internet service providers upgrade their routers from time to time. If you have an old router it might be worth contacting them to see if they can send you the newest model or to ensure that your existing router has all the latest updates.
Make sure that the operating system on your computer is the latest version available and has all the necessary software and device driver updates, as these updates sometimes eliminate bugs that cause connectivity problems. Run an antivirus scan to make sure there is no malware causing issues with your internet connection. Make sure your web browser is up to date and clear out cached temporary internet files.
Too many other computers or mobile items on the network - The more devices you have connected to your wireless internet, the slower it will be. Disconnect/turn off any devices that aren’t being used, such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and games consoles. Some devices still use internet bandwidth even if they are on standby or turned off, so unplug them if you can. Consider asking others that share your internet bandwidth to refrain from streaming video or downloading large files whilst you have something important to do that requires a lot of bandwidth.
Signal interference from walls or electrical appliances - Your wireless internet speed will decrease if it has to travel through walls or floors/ceilings. It may also be getting interference from other electrical appliances such as televisions, fridges & microwaves. Try to ensure that your computer is in line of sight of your wireless router to avoid the signal having to travel through thick walls. Try to ensure that your wireless router is positioned away from other electrical appliances if possible.
Low Internet speed from your Internet Service Provider - Run a speed test to see what your download/upload speed is. Use a free service such as Which's Speed Test or SpeedTest. If it is slower than what your internet service provider has advertised then contact them as they may be able to improve it for you.
Reboot your router - Your internet router is normally switched on all day. It is worth periodically unplugging it from the mains, wait 30 seconds, and then plugging it back in.
Minimise bandwidth-intensive software - If you are having a virtual meeting/lecture, consider using audio-only instead of audio & video. Using video increase the amount of bandwidth required, especially if everyone in the meeting/lecture has their video turned on. Consider asking everyone to turn off the video and mute themselves if not speaking, or do this yourself in your collaboration tool.
Record lectures in advance - Consider recording your lecture in advance. This will give you time to upload it to the cloud. You could ask your students to watch it before your lecture and then use the lecture as a discussion forum, either via a text-only or audio-only chat.
Tips for productive remote working
It is important to stay in touch with your colleagues and close ones whilst we work remotely and also keep our minds occupied. Below are some useful tips to help you stay connected whilst you work away from the College.
- Stick to your normal routine as much as possible - work your normal working hours and get dressed
- Give yourself breaks when you need them - you could try the Pomodoro technique of working for 25mins solidly then having a 5min break
- Make sure your remote working set-up works for you - keep the space tidy, make sure it has good airflow and try and keep it separate from where you relax
- Write a to-do list of what tasks you need to achieve in the week and break it down by day
- Listen to the radio, music or a podcast so you're not sat in silence
- Utilise Microsoft Teams - have video call meetings with your colleagues, but also take a coffee break or lunch via video call
- Try and get some exercise - follow a yoga tutorial or workout routine on YouTube, start Couch to 5K or just go for a walk or cycle
Staying safe when remote working
The College has recently seen a 34% rise in phishing/vishing scams since the move to remote working.
Below are practical steps staff and students can take to prevent falling for such scams:
- Create a strong password using a mixture of words, numbers and symbols.
- Make sure you have anti-virus on your laptop and run scans periodically or when you feel something is not right.
- Install all updates to ensure your computer is up to date.
- Beware popups, these can be used to appear as a legitimate part of a website when in fact they are not.
- Be careful on what weblinks you click on especially if it’s an email from outside Imperial.
- Look for the https:/ in the web address, the ‘s’ means the website is secure. Also, secure websites will have a little padlock icon besides the web address.
- To check a website link, hover over the link with your mouse, but don’t click it, the real website link will appear in the lower left-hand side of your browser.
- Be wary of any emails asking you to take any urgent action, if an email is trying to force you to act quickly, be more cautious.
- Never give out personal information, if someone is asking for confidential details, do not pass on your information.
- Change your passwords frequently. I know it can be tempting to use the same one for convenience, but if your email account is compromised, it can be used by fraudsters to access other online accounts you may have such as PayPal, Amazon etc.
- Set up two-factor authentication, adding an extra step will increase the security.
- When working from home, lock your screen when taking a break from your computer, especially if you live in shared accommodation or have flatmates.
- Reporting any suspected phishing emails to the service desk.
- Finally, trust your gut instinct, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
For more guidance, visit our Be Secure web pages.