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COVID-19 – Working from home – Power outages

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before,” Elizabeth Edwards.

If that is true South Africans must be among the worlds’ most resilient people. The pandemic drove the global scramble for businesses to move staff off-site to reduce the spread of the disease. SA business has, in many ways, had even more hurdles to overcome to maintain business as usual in this scenario – the main one being power supply interruption. Load shedding was first introduced by Eskom in January 2008 and remains a source of productivity loss, and stress, that has been aggravated by the remote working model.

Moreover, all too often disruptions come without warning, making it impossible to plan for them. So, whilst the natural reaction would be to quietly tear one’s hair out implementing the following tips may be a more positive approach to the power utility’s best efforts to put you out of business:

  • Always ensure your laptop, computer and phone are fully charged.
  • Inform your manager, colleagues, and clients about the situation.
  • Stay up to date with the latest news about planned outages, this will enable you to plan and possibly arrange to work from the office. Above all, know your company’s protocol for this.
  • Print documents that you may need in advance from One Drive or Share Point as you will not be able to access your files if you don’t have an internet connection.
  • Invest in a car charger adapter that will enable you to charge your devices especially if the power outage is unplanned.
  • Have a backup internet connection like a mobile pocket router.
  • Investigate co-working spaces close to your home with secure Wi-Fi connections.
  • Connecting to public Wi-Fi is not ideal so make sure your VPN is turned on.
  • Back up your information regularly in case your hardware is damaged due to power surges.
  • Invest in an uninterrupted power system (UPS). Keep in mind that the power supply is subject to a defined timeline.
  • The ultimate solution is, of course, to purchase a backup generator but not always possible due to both purchase and running costs.

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