In recent times, the concept of working from home has gained immense popularity. The benefits are evident—no more wasted time on commuting, fewer distractions from colleagues, and the luxury of accessing home comforts at your fingertips. However, with this arrangement comes the responsibility of ensuring that you have the right equipment in place to remain productive. While some companies may assist their employees in this regard, freelancers often find themselves solely responsible for their setup. In a previous article, we discussed the essential gear required for a successful home office. Today, we’ll address another crucial aspect: preparing for power outages.
Picture this: you have looming deadlines and an array of tasks to complete, only to be thwarted by a sudden blackout. Not only does it inconvenience you, but it also disappoints your colleagues and clients, forcing them to wait until power is restored. To prevent such scenarios, it is prudent to take certain precautions in advance. Though it may require a financial investment, being prepared for a day or two without power will save you from unnecessary frustration.
First and foremost, prioritize portability. When faced with a power cut, a laptop proves to be more useful than a desktop computer. For example, the 15-inch MacBook Air boasts a battery life that can easily last beyond a full working day if fully charged. Additionally, you can maximize your laptop’s battery life by enabling low-power mode on macOS or activating the battery saver feature on Windows. Simple adjustments, such as reducing display brightness, can also contribute to prolonging battery life.
Depending on your circumstances and budget, consider adding a tablet to your setup. With the right keyboard cover, tablets like the iPad, Amazon Fire, and Samsung Galaxy Tab S series can serve as makeshift laptops, acting as a useful backup if your primary computer is rendered inoperable.
Next, invest in a reliable power bank. A power bank not only keeps your laptops, tablets, and phones functioning during a blackout but also enables you to recharge them. While there are numerous options available, smaller devices like the Anker PowerCore 10000 can easily recharge your phone multiple times. However, for a laptop, you’ll require a more substantial power bank, such as the Jackery Explorer 2000 Plus. Although it may come with a significant price tag of $2,200, this portable powerhouse provides enough stored battery power to recharge an average laptop up to 12 times, ensuring your productivity for days. Furthermore, the Jackery Explorer 2000 Plus can be paired with a solar panel for an unlimited power supply, making it an ideal choice if your location receives ample sunlight. Similar alternatives from brands like Anker and Jackery can also be explored for a suitable match.
For those working with desktop computers or requiring power for multiple devices, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is worth considering. These large batteries act as a backup, providing enough time to save your work, shut down safely, switch to an external battery pack, or continue working during brief outages or brownouts. To learn more about UPS systems, refer to our comprehensive guide on preparing your entire home for power outages.
Another critical aspect affected by power cuts is your internet connection. To address this, you can utilize the cellular connection on your phone to access the web. However, feasibility depends on factors such as your carrier, data plan, and signal strength. Setting up a personal hotspot allows you to connect your laptop to your phone’s network, ensuring you can send emails and work on documents, albeit with an increased drain on your phone’s battery. Alternatively, you may opt for a more permanent solution by investing in a 5G modem, like the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro. Priced at $1,000, this device supports Wi-Fi 6E and 5G, offers extensive range, and can run on battery power for approximately 13 hours between charges. Besides providing connectivity during power outages, it serves as an excellent travel companion.
Lastly, it’s always wise to have a Plan C. Consider reaching out to family or friends who might offer their power and internet access during an outage. However, ensure they are not affected by the same power cut. Researching public spaces, coffee shops, and hotel lobbies in your vicinity can also lead you to Wi-Fi hotspots where you can work in exchange for a purchase. Moreover, shared workspaces, such as WeWork, could be an option depending on availability and the extent of the power outage in your area. These spaces not only provide a conducive work environment but can also be beneficial when traveling or simply when you need a change of scenery.
By taking these precautions, you can equip yourself to tackle power outages while working from home. Remember, investing in the right equipment and planning for contingencies ensures uninterrupted productivity and peace of mind.