SALTZMAN: The best technical advice for working at the chalet


Stay productive, if you need to, even lounging by the lake

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Have you been a fan of working from home in the past year or so?

You’re not alone.

A recent poll by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that 82% of Canadians surveyed who worked from home during the pandemic found the experience “very positive” or “somewhat positive”, while only 20% want to go back to the office every day in a post COVID-19 world.

Perhaps this is because a similar study, published by Statistics Canada, found that the majority of Canadians reported being as productive working from home as they are in an office environment.

About 90% of those polled said they were “at least as productive” as they were before at their regular workplace, the agency concluded.

But not all the data is positive: According to an online survey conducted by ADP Canada and Angus Reid, some Canadians say they are working significantly longer hours at home than before the pandemic.

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The same study found that many feel more stressed when working from home, possibly because they are juggling personal and professional life under one roof.

Regardless of your position on the matter, technology can also empower workers who own or rent a summer residence, such as a cabin or cabin.

The problem is, setting further away poses additional challenges for staying connected to the office.

And so, here are some suggestions for staying on top of your game, wherever life (and work) takes you this summer.

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Reliable Wi-Fi is a must

You might have the best equipment in the world, but none of it matters without fast, reliable internet.

The options for broadband internet vary depending on your location.

Those who plan to spend a lot of time working away from home – say several months a year – should find out about Internet service providers in your area.

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If there is no (m) no option, consider satellite internet service. But be aware that trees, hills, and other obstructive objects around your property can impact the quality and reliability of satellite internet (not to mention bad weather).

Instead, for a short-term remote “workstation”, it is recommended that you use a mobile “hotspot”, a small device that allows you to share your cellular network connection with other devices. , so that they can access the Internet.

You connect devices, like a tablet or laptop, to your hotspot over Wi-Fi, but then it uses 4G or 5G cellular technology to connect.

Be aware that you will be billed for all the data they use, depending on your monthly data plan, or if you choose a separate plan with the hotspot device.

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Each of Canada’s three big suppliers has a different name for these products: Rogers calls them Rocket Hubs, for Bell, Turbo Hubs, and Telus calls them Smart Hubs.

Bell customers have five options to choose from, including the Nighthawk M5 5G mobile hotspot for $ 25 / month for 24 months ($ 636 outright) and require a qualifying 2-year price plan.

It is also a Wi-Fi 6 enabled device to take advantage of the latest speeds and support more simultaneous devices on the network.

In the event of a power failure, the removable battery lasts up to 13 hours on a single charge.

Rogers customers, meanwhile, have several options, including the Novatel MIFI 7000 mobile hotspot ($ 8.30 / month or $ 199 outright) with a rechargeable battery for up to 24 hours; the Inseego MIFI 8000 ($ 9.38 / month for 24 months or $ 225.00 outright) which supports 15 simultaneous devices; and the ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub ($ 10.80 / month or $ 259 directly) which lets you connect up to 20 Wi-Fi devices.

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TELUS offers the Novatel MiFi 7000 Internet Hub ($ 100) for up to 15 devices, the ZTE MF279 ($ 270) for up to 20 devices and a 3000mAh backup battery, and the ZTE MF833 Mobile Internet Key (180 $) which plugs into your laptop. USB port.

However, without a healthy wireless data plan, you can forget about bandwidth-hungry apps like Zoom video calls.

So be sure to do your homework ahead of time by visiting the operators’ websites to find out about plans, costs, and conditions. No one wants a nasty surprise on a wireless bill.

Boost your calls and SMS too

Speaking of cell reception, cell phone signal boosters are another popular purchase among those who spend time in remote locations.

After all, it can be embarrassing to have missed or dropped calls when trying to work from a summer home.

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The cell phone booster industry grew by more than 25% last year, according to one of the industry leaders, SureCall, a manufacturer of cell phone signal boosters.

An amplifier is usually mounted on a roof, the phone’s exterior antenna picks up the cellular signal from a nearby tower, which is connected to interior components.

Your phone picks up and amplifies the signal to send it back to the tower.

This is important, especially in weak signal areas, as you can get decent signals from a cell phone tower, but you cannot connect the call because your phone does not have the power to forward it to. tower.

Sometimes the outdoor antenna needs to be directed towards a cell phone tower, if there are no obstacles, while other antennas are omnidirectional.

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The SureCall Flare 3.0 ($ 499), for example, covers up to 3,000 square feet and works with any brand of cell phone or smartphone (or hotspots), regardless of the phone company.

It supports 4G / LTE and 5G networks.

Power, and more

Those who work remotely know all too well that inclement weather can cut off power, even temporarily, which could affect your ability to work. Always keep your laptop powered on, just in case, and consider a wireless hotspot device with a backup battery inside.

If you’re spending time at a dock, backyard, or boat, bring a portable power solution for your mobile device, like the Anker PowerCore 20100 ($ 49.99), a power bank with a huge 20,100 mAh battery and 2 USB ports to charge multiple devices (simultaneously, if desired). Always keep your external battery charged in case you need it.

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Some other considerations:

  • On a related note, to protect your computer and other indoor electronics, make sure your power strip has a “surge protection” feature, which protects against possible voltage spikes that could damage your devices. electronic devices (often after power has returned).
  • Remember to make a copy of your important computer files on a regular basis. Free cloud services are great, but remember that if the power or internet goes down you will be without your files, so consider a local (offline) solution as well, such as an external drive (the My Passport hard drive). from WD is a solid choice, at $ 79 for 2 terabytes).
  • Finally, opt for lighter gear to make it easy to carry around the cottage or cabin, even outdoors, and with a long-lasting battery (so you can keep the charger in a drawer). The aptly named LG gram laptop (starting at $ 1,599) is super light, just a few millimeters thick, and has a battery that lasts up to 25.5 hours on a single charge. It is also available in 15, 16 and 17 inch screen sizes, as well as a 16 inch 2-in-1 “convertible” model.

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About Jermaine Chase

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