If non-tech-savvy remote workers share one concern, it’s likely that their technology tools will fail somehow and that, without a tech pro just steps away, they won’t know what to do. However, many common tech glitches have simple fixes, and there are tools and processes that companies with remote workforces can provide that can help their team members troubleshoot and solve many problems on their own (or better yet, avoid them altogether).
From unstable internet connections to lost passwords, there are many tech-related issues remote workers live in fear of—but they shouldn’t have to. Below, 14 members of Forbes Technology Council discuss a few common tech glitches remote workers encounter that are usually pretty easy to fix, and how they (and the tech specialists who support them) can do so.
1. Internet Connectivity Issues
If a remote worker experiences internet connectivity issues, I suggest these steps. 1. Restart the router or modem. 2. Move closer to the Wi-Fi router or use a wired connection for a more stable signal. 3. Disable and then re-enable Wi-Fi on the device. 4. Clear the cache and cookies on their Web browser. 5. Use a mobile hotspot as an alternative. – Alex Rees, T.P.R. Industrial Inc.
2. VPN Connectivity Issues
Common issues include VPN and/or connectivity problems. Easy solutions include checking connectivity using tools like fast.com and restarting the modem and/or router. I also recommend verifying the VPN configuration, server address, connection protocols and credentials. You may need to briefly disable firewall and antivirus settings to configure them to allow VPN traffic. If issues persist, contact IT support. – Thomas Benjamin, NI
3. Nonfunctional Wireless Devices
A remote worker may encounter issues with their wireless mouse or keyboard. To address this, they can try disconnecting and reconnecting the USB receiver, replacing the batteries, and ensuring no obstructions or interference affect the wireless signal. – Andrew Blackman, EZ Cloud
4. Difficulty Joining Video Calls
Remote workers often encounter issues with video conferencing, such as audio and/or video problems or difficulty joining meetings. Here are a few simple fixes to try. Check the audio and video settings. Ensure you’re using a stable internet connection. Update or reinstall the software. Restart your device. Test to see if there are issues when you’re using a different conferencing software or device. Finally, seek assistance from IT support if needed. – Monika Mueller, Softensity Inc
5. Unstable Or Slow Performance During Video Calls
Aside from losing their internet connection, remote workers often find themselves using a lower-end computer. Such computers typically lack an advanced graphic processing unit; such a unit will help with video calls. Moreover, a GPU will help a computer run a video call while also running other applications—not having one can bring the system to a halt. In short, make sure remote workers have a good GPU. – Henri Isenberg, ReviewInc
6. Microphone Noise During Video Calls
Remote workers often use their computers as phone and video conferencing tools. However, the microphones in our laptops are typically subpar, and generic headsets usually take neither the location nor the modulation of the voice into account. A quality, non-gaming headset or a desk microphone and speakers can make a big difference in sound quality in meetings and help reduce fatigue. – Kevin Korte, Univention
7. Slow Device And Application Performance
A common tech issue that remote workers encounter is slow performance on their networked devices and applications. In the absence of on-site help, non-IT-savvy remote workers must become more aware of their home internet speed limitations, upgrading if possible. Disconnecting unnecessary devices and applications, as well as being mindful of quality of server (QoS) settings and adjusting where possible, can also help. – Douglas Murray, Auvik
8. Inability To Open Documents And Files
A common issue is the dreaded, “I can’t open this document or file!” More often than not, it’s a compatibility issue between different software versions. The quick fix? Convert the document into a universally compatible format, such as a PDF for text-based files or a JPEG for images. Additionally, using cloud-based collaborative tools, such as Google Docs or Office 365, can bypass this issue entirely. – Andres Zunino, ZirconTech
9. Difficulty Managing Passwords
Password maintenance for professionals is generally pretty complex, with many people having to use five or six systems. One solution is to switch to a single sign-on model, where the password is managed by a single authority that is easier to reset and manage in case of lockouts or expirations. If an IT team migrates as many of their team members’ systems as possible to an SSO login, it’ll save time and mental space for the entire staff. – Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket
10. Inability To Access Files In The Cloud
Often, remote workers have trouble accessing files or documents stored in cloud storage services. When this happens, there are a few straightforward fixes to try. First, check your internet connection to ensure it is stable and functioning. Next, verify that you are using the correct login credentials for the cloud storage service. If the issue persists, contact the cloud storage service’s support team for assistance. – Cristian Randieri, Intellisystem Technologies
11. Being Locked Out Of Company Tools
One problem my non-tech-savvy remote workers have encountered is accidentally locking themselves out of our company websites and tools. I’ve had employees message me in utter panic, and this scenario happens way more often than you might think. In many cases, the fix is simply to contact an administrator and have them send a verification email that allows the user to create a new password. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
12. Inadequate Service Desk Support
If the service desk doesn’t work, a remote worker can’t report a malfunction. Having an easy-to-use and accessible service desk system that can quickly and smoothly resolve technical issues is a really important tool for non-technical employees. Also, you need to make sure they are not afraid to report problems via alternative channels such as email or phone. – Robert Strzelecki, TenderHut
13. Inability To Contact Support
It’s vital to have a second form of communication that is independent of the technology that workers usually rely on. A WhatsApp group, an office landline or even just the direct cell number of a colleague workers can inform when tech issues arise helps to mitigate the knock-on communication effects of “glitches” or the dreaded blue screen. – Martin Taylor, Content Guru
14. Disorganized Digital Files
The lack of an effective file management system is a common problem among remote workforces. You want to ensure your deliverables and files are organized, cataloged and easy to access. Introducing tools such as Monday.com and Trello improves file management, team collaboration, organization and communication. – Gergo Vari, Lensa, Inc.