PROFESSIONALS IN LOCKDOWN

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HOW TO SET UP A GOOD AND SAFE WORKPLACE AND ICT PROVISIONS AT HOME

While many people already started working from home a few weeks ago, the current lockdown in Accra and Kumasi is now challenging all professionals living in these areas. They need to set up a good ICT workplace at home for themselves as well as their family members.

Normally, you may work a bit on your laptop in the evening, sitting on your sofa, but this is a new situation.

SET UP A PROPER WORK PLACE

To be productive during the whole day, it is recommended to make arrangements for a separate room, or to dedicate a corner in the house where a good table and office chair can be set up, preferably on a height that allows for an ergonomically healthy posture while typing on a keyboard. The chair should equally be comfortable to support your back for long hours.

You need at least one electrical outlet and good Wi-Fi or internet connection. Get yourself an additional keyboard and mouse and eventually a large monitor to avoid headaches or neck pains after a long day.

STAY CONCENTRATED TO GET THINGS DONE

When your working routine is to leave home in the morning, spend time in traffic and go to the office, it may be difficult to keep disciplined at home and actually sit and get things done.

It is therefore good to develop a new daily routine where you create time slots for yourself to concentrate on your work. When you spend too many hours behind a computer screen, your concentration and production inevitably will go down.

So set a timer and take a break at regular intervals where you do some physical exercise, a domestic job, or go for a drink to stay hydrated. Having good daylight at your desk boosts productivity, and when the room is quiet, it will help you to concentrate even more.

FAMILY LIFE

Professionals who are blessed with a working spouse and children at the schooling age will need to adapt considerably more. For them in particular, it is important to organize fixed working hours and home schooling.

A long dining table is ideal to install the whole family for joint work and schooling sessions. Both parents may take shifts spending time with the children while having specific hours in the day where they can work in a concentrated manner on their own job. Arranging rosters for this, including regular breaks, fun and exercise for the whole family, will avoid a lot of stress and frustration.

A SAFE WI-FI NETWORK AND PASSWORDS FOR YOUR MOBILE DEVICES

While many people work from home, cyber criminals are driving around to look for vulnerable Wi-Fi networks to hack. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is recommended to provide your home with online protection by means of encryption. If VPN is not feasible for you right now, at least protect your mobile devices against unwanted access with strong passwords. Here are some good practices:

CYBER CRIMINALS ARE EXTRA ACTIVE NOW

Unfortunately, Cyber criminals have been reported to abuse the current situation for fraud. Fake emails, text and WhatsApp messages as well as fraudulent websites are being used to trick people.

Expect to receive emails from fake government agencies, businesses or employers. This is a typical form of phishing linked to the pandemic.

Receivers of these messages think it makes sense that a message is being sent by either their bank, or their own ICT department, with specific information about the lock down, or extraordinary measures from the government as announced on television.

You need to be extra vigilant these days! Of course, it is key to never open these messages or click on any hyperlink, but remove them immediately. In case of any doubt, call your employer, the ICT department, your bank or anyone who would normally be expected to send you a mail to check if it is actually theirs.

FAKE WEB SHOPS

Never reply to anyone who is asking – either via an electronic device or in person – for your confidential information like your pin code or credit card credentials.

In particular, elderly people should be warned. People may contact them to offer shopping services during lockdown, offer medical test kits for Corona virus and so on.

Diana is a board member of Maxim Nyansa IT solutions foundation and sales director at Trinity Software Center in Kumasi.

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