Our 10 Best Tips for Working from Home That Will Boost Productivity 

The work landscape is changing. Many companies have shifted to a remote work environment during the pandemic out of necessity to keep their teams safe. 70% of full-time workers in the United States are working from home during COVID-19 Team members adjusted and enjoy the newfound flexibility that working from home can bring. In fact, it’s a new era of working. According to the PwC US Pulse Survey nearly half (44%) of all employees would like to stay remote even if COVID-19 was no longer a concern. At Race we want to help you into this new era, so we are sharing our 10 best tips for working from home that will keep you sane and boost your productivity! 

tips for working from home - great internet

1. Great Internet 

This is the most critical of our tips for working from home! Great internet! It’s by far the most important thing you’ll need to succeed in remote work positions. Strong internet, such as fiber internet, allows you to complete your work, collaborate with colleagues and stay in contact with clients and customers. Without a decent internet signal, you’ll have grainy video calls, or even worse you’ll freeze in the middle of a presentation. Avoid prolonged download times and frustrating communication issues by looking for internet with the following attributes:

  • A high-speed connection will allow you to video conference and upload documents with ease.
  • Plenty of Bandwidth 
  • Reliable Connection
  • A service provider with great customer service that can help if problems arise 

Want more information and helpful tips? Check out our blog 5 Simple Steps to Take When Choosing a Home Internet Provider in Your Area 

tips for working from home - dedicated office space

2. Dedicated Space 

Create a space that is dedicated to being your home office. Ideally, this will be a room with a door and a window. But, we know this can be challenging especially in smaller spaces. The key is to create a space that you only use for work, even a small alcove or pocket office will do the trick! A dedicated workspace separates work from the rest of the house which will help you focus. It’s also easier to turn off from work when you can walk away from the space. 

3. Minimize Distractions 

Working from home provides its fair share of distractions. It’s not uncommon for your kid to pop into your office, or have your dog beg you for a walk. Do your best to stay focused and productive by minimizing distractions. A dedicated workspace will help cut down distractions but that is just the first step! If you don’t use your cell phone for work, consider putting it on to avoid any distracting notifications. Additionally, a white noise machine or noise-canceling headphones can drown out the other noises in your house (like your favorite family gamer!).

It’s also important to fight the urge to multi-task. It seems harmless throwing in a few loads of laundry or ordering some groceries but doing these household chores breaks your focus and slows down your productivity ultimately prolonging your workday. 

4. Tools to keep you organized 

One of the keys to success working from home is to stay organized. You need to find a balance between work and home life. The two are easy to blur when they are in the same location. Staying organized helps to maintain the balance and keep productivity high. Keep your desk space clean, and plan out your daily and weekly tasks. Consider using task management tools such as Trello or ClickUp to keep track of important projects and tasks. If you don’t want to use a digital tool, a pen and paper list or even a planner can be just as powerful! Try to focus on one task at a time and make your way through what needs to be done. Nothing feels quite as good as crossing off your to-do list!

5. Keep to Regular Hours 

On the list of tips for working from home, this is probably our hardest to abide by. When you work from home there isn’t a clear delineation between office hours and time off. It’s very easy for the lines to blur. 70% of professionals who transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic say they now work on the weekends, and 45% say they regularly work more hours during the week than they did before.

Don’t let this happen to you, you’ll burn out quickly! Avoid overworking by setting regular hours and sticking to them. Many calendars allow you to set working hours which lets colleagues know when they are trying to schedule meetings outside your working hours. Additionally, make it clear that you will respond to any emails that come in after-hours or on weekends on the next business day. Setting clear expectations and keeping your hours regular helps to keep a healthy work-life balance and avoid burnout. 

6. Make Sure You Have What You Need 

Don’t just make do with what you have when you make the switch from working from home. Just like a traditional office your home office should have an ergonomic chair, keyboard, and mouse. Also, make sure you have items such as a 2nd monitor if that was how you worked before. Be sure to check and see if your employer offers any assistance in getting your remote office set up, you might be surprised many companies offer stipends to get you started! 

tips for working from home - take breaks

8. Schedule Breaks and TAKE them 

It’s easy to work and work with no breaks. But did you know it could be hurting your productivity? 37% of remote workers say the best way to boost productivity is to take regular breaks. So schedule regular breaks and get out of your office space, it could be a walk around the block or lunch with the kids. Just be sure to take the breaks to give your mind a reset allowing you to come back to work refreshed! 

9. Keep the Video On 

It’s tempting to keep your video off, but don’t! Keeping your video on during meetings helps you to connect with your team and clients. You’ll be able to read body language and connect on a deeper level. Face-to-face connections can make a big difference in your mental health when it comes to feeling isolated. So don’t be shy and keep the video on! 

tips for working from home - video calls

10. Over Communicate 

We’ve all read an email and misinterpreted it. Avoid this common pitfall by checking in over the phone or a video conference. A live check-in helps cut down miscommunications and humanizes the conversations. This is especially important when it comes to difficult conversations, having them in a real-time conversation allows everyone involved to hear tones, and ask questions instead of misinterpreting an email, then firing back and escalating the situation. Awkward! 

Summary: Tips For Working From Home

Take these 10 tips for working from home and see how you can improve your remote life! Go ahead and get that ergonomic chair, set working hours, and find a dedicated space to use as your office. We promise these tips will help make a big impact on your work-life balance and ability to work productively from home! What are your favorite tips for working from home? Did we miss anything? Comment below and share! 

Corporate Giving: Why Race Gives Back and You Should Too 

All companies should give back in some way to the communities they serve. At Race, we believe companies should infuse the spirit of corporate giving into their culture and provide opportunities for employees to give back. We’re deeply invested in the communities we serve and frequently participate in giving back to the community. 

Corporate Giving Race Backpacks

How Race Gives Back

Over the years, we have tried to invest in the community as much as possible. Every year since 2018,  we’ve done backpack giveaways in our communities, distributing backpacks and school supplies to those in need. Two years ago, during the holiday season, we adopted an entire giving tree for families affected by the fires in Bridgeport, CA. And this year, we donated supplies to the victims of the Nevada County Fires. There are many other ways we get involved in our communities too, depending on their unique needs. 

Corporate Giving Volunteers

The Benefits Corporate Giving For Your Company

Giving back is great for your community, and there are also business advantages. We’ll explore them below. 

Boosts Morale

Corporate giving is an essential element of keeping employees happy. When companies encourage their teams to give, team members will be more aligned with their organization’s values and culture. For example, a recent survey found that 57% of employees believed that participating in charitable causes makes for happier teams. In addition, 37% of those surveyed also felt more connected to the company culture after taking part. 

Attracts Top Talent 

When it comes to attracting top talent, one of the main factors in deciding what companies to work for is how your company gives back and takes corporate social responsibility. For example, 70% of millennials listed that their company’s commitment to the community influenced their decision to work there. To further this point, research by Cone Communications found that nearly two-thirds of young people won’t take a job at a company with poor CSR practices. Long story short, if you don’t give back to your community or become involved in important neighborhood causes, you’re probably missing out on some of the best minds in the talent pool. 

Consumers Expect It

Giving back is no longer just a nice thing to do. Consumers expect companies to be socially responsible and give back. People research what companies are doing to make the world better and use it as a deciding factor in making purchases.  In fact, over 90% of consumers globally are more likely to choose brands that support a good cause. 

Helps Build Strong Relationships within the Community 

Communities are the heartbeat of your business. Naturally, as a business, you should want to support issues that deeply impact the communities you serve. Investigate what causes are important to your community and what issues the community needs help with. Pick one and get involved. In return, when it comes to making purchasing decisions, your brand will be top of mind. 

Corporate Giving Food Donations

How You Can Give Back

By now, you should have a good grasp of the benefits of corporate giving. Now, we’ll cover some easy ways to start. If you choose a cause that’s important to your company and aligned with your culture, you can’t go wrong. Here are some ideas to get you started. 

Food Banks 

Donating to food banks is an impactful way to make a difference. There is a 55% increase in people visiting food banks, so donations are needed now more than ever. Consider having a food drive at work and donate non-perishable items to your local pantry. Not sure where to find one? FoodPantries.org is a great place to find a local food bank that needs donations. 

Volunteer Your Skills 

Skill-based volunteering is a great way to give back to your community. Many nonprofits work on limited budgets and rely on skill-based volunteers to operate. Skill-based volunteering allows employees to use their expertise to help communities. Consider volunteering your time and skills to a cause close to your company. For example, team members can use their experience to mentor youth to help them achieve their career goals. Lawyers sometimes will work a case or review legal documents pro-bono. Whatever your team’s skills and experience there’s a nonprofit that could use help! 

Team Build For Good

Clean the World offers team building that allows groups to build hygiene kits for those less fortunate. Each hygiene kit features discarded soap and bottled hygiene amenities from hotels worldwide. The kits are then given out in communities to individuals who may otherwise not have the means to get hygiene supplies. 

Corporate Giving Food Drive

Corporate Giving: Go Out and Give Back! 

As you can see, there are so many benefits to your company and the community when you give back. So take some time to make a plan and give back. Your team and community will be better for it! Below are the key takeaways from this article: 

  • 57% of employees believed that participating in charitable causes make for happier teams
  • 90% of consumers globally are more likely to choose brands that support a good cause 
  • There are many ways to give back. It can be time, money, or donations. Choose a cause that aligns well with your corporate values and get your team involved for the most impact. 

Has your team given back in a unique way? Comment below and share!

What to Look For When Choosing a Business Internet Provider 

Choosing a business internet provider can feel like a daunting task. Internet is one of the most critical tools to running a business, so you know you’ll need to pick wisely! But how do you choose when it all looks the same? Does it just come down to speed, or is there more you should be looking for? We’ll cover everything you need to know when choosing a business internet provider below. By the time you’re done with this article, you’ll be well on your way to the best internet for your business! Let’s go! 

Understand the Types of Internet Available and Their Limitations

When choosing a business internet provider you need to think about is what you actually need for your operations. Knowing the types of internet available and their pros and cons will help you to make the best choice you can. 

For example, if you run a highly connected business where your team is often on video calls simultaneously, Fiber Internet is likely to be your best opinion as it has plenty of bandwidth and speed to meet the everyday demands of the office.

Bandwidth Availability 

Bandwidth is a big deal and can become a significant pain point if your business doesn’t have enough. Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data transmitted over your internet connection over a specific time. It’s calculated in megabits per second (Mbps), and the more bandwidth, the faster data can flow through your connection at the same time. 

A few things to keep in mind when determining how much bandwidth your company needs are: 

# of Connected Devices

Just like when you’re choosing home internet, think about how many devices connect to your network. It’s not just the computers you need to consider but anything that uses WiFi, such as employees’ phones, printers, TVs, and even security systems. 

# of People Using the Internet 

Bandwidth is affected by how many people are using the internet at once. As a general rule of thumb, you want 15-20 Mb per employee. 

How Your Company Uses The Internet 

Think about how your team uses the internet. What type of activities are they doing? Basic web browsing and checking emails don’t require too much bandwidth, but activities like uploading large files and video conferencing need robust bandwidth to get the task done. 

Below is a handy chart that shows what the average bandwidth requirements are for day-to-day business tasks. 

Read the SLA

A reliable business internet provider will have a service level agreement (SLA). An SLA is a promise between service providers and the customer. The document outlines what the service provider will deliver and sets the service terms and conditions the provider is required to meet. Here are a few parts of the SLA you’ll want to pay close attention to. 

Uptime 

Uptime refers to the time a network is available. In other words, when the network is up and running. It’s calculated by measuring the total number of hours your internet was up and running divided by the number of hours in a year. The number you get from this equation will be your yearly uptime percentage. As a rule of thumb, look for a provider with the most uptime possible to ensure you don’t have any annoying disruptions. At Race, we guarantee an uptime of 99.99%! 

Credits 

In some cases, your ISP will provide credits for outages. Read the terms and conditions of outage credits closely. The SLA will define what constitutes an outage period and how the periods are measured. Most providers will provide a credit when the outage is due to them, but it is unlikely to receive a credit if the issue is caused by the customer, directly or indirectly, or third-party equipment. 

What does customer support look like?

Let’s face it, no matter how great your ISP is at some point, you’re going to need to contact customer support. For example, if you run into an issue with billing or are experiencing a problem that you need technical support with, you’ll be reaching out for help. 

When choosing a business internet provider, look into these areas of customer support to ensure you have the best experience: 

Self-Service Resources

Check to see if they have resources for self-service, such as F.A.Q pages and blogs. These resources allow you to educate yourself and even troubleshoot issues if they arise. 

Customer Support 

Ask what response times are if issues occur. Check to see if support is available in various ways such as phone, chat, email, or on-site. Most internet service providers offer priority support to their enterprise accounts, don’t be afraid to ask if yours does! 

Read Reviews 

All companies will tell you they’re the best. Instead of taking their word, dig deeper and find out what other customers have experienced. If you see mostly positive reviews, this is an indicator that the service provider will excel at customer satisfaction. 

Look for Local Internet Providers 

There are many benefits to choosing a local business internet provider. First, local ISPs are already in your community and ready to help when you need it. If your provider isn’t local, they may not be able to get a technician out as quickly to help with problems leaving your business without internet for far too long. In addition, local business internet providers invest in their communities. At RACE, we’re connected to our communities and local businesses. You’ll find us at many local events and even serving on a few local chamber committees. 

Choosing a Business Internet Provider Summary 

Now that you know what you need to look for, go out and find the best internet provider for your business! Here’s a quick recap of key takeaways:

  • Understand what types of internet are available and which would work best for your needs
  • Figure out how much bandwidth you will need, factor in the number of people, devices connected and how the internet is being used to get the best idea of your needs.
  • Understand the provider’s SLA so you can know exactly what to expect when it comes to service. 

Are you choosing a business internet provider? We’d love to help take your internet services to the next level. If you are interested in learning more about our internet services, contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 or send us an inquiry, and we will help you pick the right service for you. 

What’s the Best Type of Internet for You? Everything You Need to Know Before You Choose

There are many types of internet – and they are definitely not created equal! When you’re choosing an internet service, it’s essential to understand the types of internet available to you. Knowing what each kind is and its strengths and weaknesses allow you to make the best choice for your needs. Today we’re exploring the five most common types of internet and everything you need to know about them. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to choose the best type of internet for you. Let’s go!

Fiber Internet

Top Speeds: 10Gbps- the equivalent of 10,000 Mbps

Ideal For: Modern homes and businesses that require high speeds and ample bandwidth 

Currently, Fiber internet is the fastest internet connection you can get. It’s considered the most cutting-edge type of internet and uses fiber optic cables filled with tiny strands of glass to send information. The information is sent via bursts of light which transmits data at about 70% of the speed of light. Fiber is an excellent option for people who need high bandwidth as it provides up to 1,000 times as much bandwidth as other types of internet. 

If the speeds aren’t enough to convince you that fiber internet is an excellent opinion, fiber is also one of the most stable internet connections. This is because it doesn’t use electricity or depend on clear skies to send signals and data. 

Cable Internet 

Top Speeds:

Ideal For: Homes and businesses that do not have access to Fiber internet or need a lower-cost option that still has high speeds. 

Cable internet is arguably the most popular type of internet in the United States. It’s widely available and uses copper wires to send data over electrical currents. These are the same types of cables used for phone lines and cable TV.  Most providers use existing cable lines to transmit internet signals making it widely available to homes and businesses. While it cannot keep up with the speeds Fiber internet brings, it is often a lower-cost option and can provide enough speed for most homes. 

Cable struggles with bandwidth as it is based on older technology designed to transmit voice calls. Its speeds are also asymmetrical, meaning the download speeds (think streaming a TV show) are faster than its upload speeds (think uploading a video to the cloud). It wasn’t created for the demands the internet has now. Additionally, cable internet is transmitted via electrical currents making it more susceptible to outages due to power or extreme weather conditions. 

DSL

Top Speeds: 5- 35Mbps 

Ideal For: Rural areas that don’t have access to fiber or cable internet. Also suitable for homes with limited users that only browse the internet and check email. 

Similar to Cable internet, DSL, or digital subscriber line, sends data through electrical currents. However, DSL uses the same wires as your telephone to bring high-speed internet to your home. The signal is then distributed to your modem, which converts the signal to the internet. DSL can be installed anywhere a phone jack is present, making it an easily accessible internet solution and a good option for rural areas.

It can be a good solution for homes or businesses with limited users and devices connected to the internet. For example, if you just use your internet to browse and check your email, this option could work for you. However, it’s not the best option for working from home video conferencing, gaming on the internet, or heavily streaming.

Satellite 

Top Speeds: 100-150 Mbps 

Ideal For: Very rural or remote locations that cannot get internet connections other ways. 

Satellite Broadband is a type of internet you can get from anywhere in the world. The internet is sent over radio waves which communicate with your provider’s Network Operations Center (NOC) via satellites in space. Because of how far the data has to travel to bring data to your devices, it is a slower form of internet and not ideal for an average home or business. Additionally, like satellite TV, this type of internet is affected by heavy rains or snow that block or interfere with the signals. 

This type of connection is often used for very rural areas that don’t have access to any other type of internet. Satellite internet can reach almost anywhere and is available to 99% of the US population. You can get it just about anywhere. Outdoor events and festivals also use it when there is no access to cable lines. While Satellite internet can’t match the speeds of Cable, Fiber, or DSL, it provides internet access where otherwise would not be possible. 

Dial-Up 

Top Speeds: 56 kbit/s

Ideal For: Budget-conscious homes that only use the internet for basic tasks.

Dial-Up is one of the first types of home internet service. It uses a phone line and analog modem to access the internet and dials the internet service provider using the phone line connection. If you used the internet in the 90s, you might remember only being able to use the phone or internet at a time because they shared the connection. Dial-Up is an antiquated type of internet and is not viable for most modern homes. It is the slowest of all connections and can only do fundamental activities such as checking email. 

For this reason, it’s not a popular type of internet. Only 3% of Americans still use it. This small percentage of users choose dial-up due to the low cost or because it’s the only option in their area. 

Types of Internet Recap

As you can see from above, there are many types of internet. Choose the type that works best for your situation. Here’s a quick recap: 

  • In most cases, if fiber or cable is available, that will be the best choice for a modern home or business
  • If you live in a highly rural area, live traveling in an RV Satellite Internet may be a good choice
  • Talk to your internet service provider if you aren’t sure which is best for you. They will help you navigate the types of internet and make suggestions based on your specific needs.