Tips to leverage technology in your small business

Efficient technology is vital to the success of any business.  As a small business there are many IT solutions that can cost effectively drive your business forward and help you achieve a competitive advantage.  Here a few tips on how to leverage technology to help your business innovate and grow efficiently.

Key questions when reviewing your IT:

  • Does your IT meet the current needs of your business and is it easily scalable in the event of expansion?
  • What technology will help your business work more efficiently?
  • Is your IT Security sufficient and GDPR compliant?
  • Is your online presence professional and reaching your target market?

Align your IT Investment

When investing in technology ensure that it aligns with your business objectives.  The right technology can transform the way you work, however investment in the wrong technologies can be expensive and time consuming.  Whilst it is valuable to be seen using the latest technology it is more important to be using the tools that really make a difference to how you operate.

Always research your options and if you don’t have in-house expertise seek professional advice.  Good IT support will help you make IT investments that will help you work more productively and securely, and in the most cost-effective way possible.

Cloud solutions

Cloud solutions are a cost-effective way of managing your IT systems.  You can use the cloud for a huge range of business services, including email, calendars, file storage and applications.  It is all online, as and when you need it and you only pay for as much capacity as you need, so you can scale up or down as you require.

Microsoft 365 is one of the best cloud solutions around and used by businesses of all sizes.  It enables your staff to work from anywhere whether it is at home, on the train, or abroad, facilitating more agile and efficient work practices. Office 365 eliminates the possibility of data loss through system crashes and if you lose any data through human error this data can easily be restored. It has advanced security features that protect against external threats and provides internal access controls.

IT Security and Backup

Cyber-attacks are becoming more advanced and sophisticated, so every business needs to take IT security seriously.  Whether you are worried about new viruses and malware, external and internal security threats, unauthorised access to crashed systems or accidental deletion of files you need to protect your business network and data. 

Your company data and client information are vital to your business and a major data loss could be critical. In the event of a data breach, you need to have a secure backup system in place so you can recover information quickly and minimise disruption.

Without the correct security in place workstations, networks, servers, cloud solutions, printers and mobiles are all open to attack.  Your IT strategy should outline how to safeguard your business as well as be compliant to current regulations.

Cyber Security Awareness Training

Investing in good technology can help you work more effectively and securely; however, the most advanced technology will not protect your business from human error and employees falling foul of a cyber-attack. With an increasing reliance on technology keeping employees up to date on the myriad of cyber threats, and how to minimise risks, is a vital measure in protecting your business. 

Our cyber security training costs £2 per person month, for more details email

Proactive monitoring and maintenance

If your business relies on fast and efficient computers but you don’t have time to monitor and manage their maintenance, you may want to consider a proactive and monitoring solution like our Bronze Plan.  It will protect against viruses and malware, ensure backups are working, manage updates and carry out computer maintenance. By proactively looking after your computers they will operate more efficiently and reliably, enabling you to work more productively and with less stress.

Online presence

Having an online presence has become more important during the pandemic and can help you build your brand and reach your target market.  It is estimated that half of customers will look at a website and online reviews before purchasing, so without these you will be missing out on a significant amount of potential business. When creating or reviewing your website keep in mind its purpose and target market and ensure that what you offer is crystal clear.  An easy to navigate website that is mobile friendly with well written content will help to increase engagement and sales.  Do not forget a contact button so visitors can easily call, email, or web chat for more information.

Social Media is also an effective way to market your business, develop your brand, and build relationships with your customers.  Choose a few key platforms that your target audience uses and build a social media strategy that helps you engage regularly.

IT supports the fundamental operations within a business.  If you would like advice on how to leverage technology to grow your business, please contact us 01603 451810 |

Warning signs that your computer needs a service

Your computer, much like a car, will perform better and last longer when serviced regularly. IT professionals recommend that you service your computer annually to ensure it runs smoothly and to identify any hardware issues. 

Over time computers get clogged with temporary files, internet histories, and unwanted software that fill up your hard drive and slow it down. Anyone using the internet is at risk of viruses and malware, which can hamper the performance of your computer and compromise your data security. A regular service will not only remove viruses and malware but ensure that your computer is running at optimum levels.

Taking a proactive approach to looking after your computer enables any issues to be caught early and dealt with quickly, before they become a bigger and more expensive problem. So what are the signs that you need to look out for?

Warning signals that your computer needs a service

  • Computer running slowly – hard drives last between 3 and 5 years. Don‘t wait for it to fail – it is quicker and cheaper to replace the hard drive when it has started to fail rather than recover data and software from a completely failed hard drive.
  • Hard drive imminent failure message – don’t ignore it and shut down immediately and take it to an IT professional.
  • Over heating – this may be due to being dusty or a fan failure, and if not dealt with can seriously damage your computer, sometimes irrevocably.
  • Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) – this means that the computer has a serious problem, it will not fix itself, and will need professional assistance.
  • Corrupted files – If you’re beginning to find files that fail to open and are corrupted even though they saved without errors, or if files suddenly disappear – save your data and get your hard drive checked.
  • Peculiar sounds -Grinding or screeching noises indicate that parts of the hardware, for example the bearings or spindle motor of the hard disk, or cooling fans, are failing. Back up your data and get it checked.
  • Acting strangely – e.g. freezes, error messages – turn it off and restart it and if the issues continue seek help.

What do you do if your hard drive is about to fail?

If you think your hard drive is about to fail you need to back up your data on a second hard drive. The likelihood that both drives will fail simultaneously are very rare, however we recommend keeping a copy of your most important data in a different physical location, or alternatively save your data to the Cloud.

What should I do if I have a virus/malware?

If your computer is running slowly, or strange windows keep popping up as you browse your computer, you may well have been infected by a virus, spyware or one of the myriad of other types of malware that proliferate on the internet.  What should you do?

  • Before you do anything, you need to disconnect your computer from the internet, and don’t use it until you are ready to clean your computer.

  • Delete temporary files

  • Download malware scanners

  • Run a scan with Malwarebytes

  • If necessary, seek professional help from an IT expert

Managed IT Services

If you want to spend less time worrying about your computer a proactive solution like our Home PC Care Plan provides an around the clock monitoring and maintenance service, that keeps your computer software up-to-date and secure. It is like having a 24/7 service on your computer ensuring your computer runs smoothly and safely.

To book a service for your computer or find out about the full range of IT services we provide please contact us 01603 451810 |

How can a good IT infrastructure benefit your small business?

Your business may have a brilliant product or service but without the right IT infrastructure you will compromise your ability to operate effectively and securely.  Your IT infrastructure includes your computers, software, internet connectivity and networks and if set up well enables everyone in your business to work with ease, so that your business can thrive.


If you are reviewing and updating your IT infrastructure it is worth planning it carefully so that your current and future IT needs are considered, this will enable you to scale your business as it grows, quickly and cost effectively. 

Focus on critical business needs

Every business requires an IT infrastructure that supports it’s operational needs. If your staff work in different locations and away from the office you will need software that enables them to work remotely and access office files via the cloud. Think about what your business needs to operate effectively and invest in tools that enhance the way you work. It may be as simple as upgrading or servicing hardware so staff are not hampered by things like slow computers.


Businesses today rely heavily on email and online services, so it is imperative to have a reliable and fast internet connection that allows you to work online and without interruption.  Good connectivity enables your staff to work more productively, as well as delivering a better service to your clients. Your internet plan will detail what speed of service you subscribe to so you can determine if it meets the needs of your business, or whether you need to upgrade.  You may even consider a new supplier if the service is not reliable.


A slow network hampers productivity and incurs maintenance costs. Investing in a carefully planned IT infrastructure will be more efficient and accommodate the changing needs of the business.  Without proper planning you can end up with a confusing array of cables that may go untested and be incorrectly placed, which can lead to reduced functionality and safety issues. A well thought through network will enable your staff to share files, printers and scanners as quickly and reliably as possible.  If you have a small business it may be a simple case of a wire and switch connecting two computers. Files can also be shared using a cloud service such as Microsoft 365.

Security should always be considered and it’s important that you secure your data network.

Data Storage

Many businesses are now moving their data storage to services in the Cloud such as Microsoft 365, as it provides flexibility, scalability and is more secure and cost effective than an on-site server.  The best solution for your business will depend on how much data storage is required as well as the level of security and control required. If you are unsure get advice from an IT expert who can assess your current IT infrastructure and provide recommendations and costs to upgrade.

IT Security

With the proliferation of cyber-crime IT security has become a critical element of any IT strategy.  Your IT infrastructure should be protected and include a robust back-up solution so that if you ever have a security disaster, such as a failed hard drive or malware damage, you can quickly recover data with a recent back up.  IT security not only protects your company data but ensures legal compliance, it also protects you from reduced productivity through cyber-attacks and viruses.

Leverage technology

When a company invests in the latest technology it can transform the way they work and enhance collaboration with staff, clients and suppliers.  It is worth finding out what IT solutions companies within your industry sector find beneficial, but always do your research because making the wrong IT investments can be expensive in time and money.


Your software needs will range from the operating system your network will be running upon, to the productivity tools you and your team will need to run the business. Assess your needs and shop around for technology solutions that will either support or streamline your processes.

Microsoft 365 will provide many small businesses with the IT solutions they need to operate efficiently, cost effectively and flexibly.

Enterprise email

An efficient email system is a fundamental tool for any modern business, as many businesses have found during the current pandemic. A reliable and fast system such as Outlook, when set up correctly, can enhance efficiency, collaboration and reduce stress. Setting up your own email system with suitable IT security can be a minefield, so if you lack the know get advice from an expert.

VoIP vs Landline

Many businesses are switching over to VoIP (voice-over-internet-protocol), a cloud-based phone system that provides a secure and professional telephone service at a fraction of the cost of a traditional landline. VoIP offers the same quality of service as traditional PSTN phone services but may not be the ideal solution for every business as it relies on a reliable internet connection.

How to manage your IT infrastructure

Regardless of your business needs, make sure you get expert advice with a view to your future requirements, which will help you scale more easily and will be more cost effective. Whether you intend to hire internal IT support or use Managed IT Services, it’s important to know that your IT infrastructure will be designed, installed, and maintained by knowledgeable and experienced experts who will enable your business IT to run smoothly and securely.

If you need IT advice, or want to book a free consultation with one of our IT infrastructure experts, please contact Adept IT Solutions today 01603 451810 /

12 ways to improve your internet speed and reliability when working from home

As working practices change and the pandemic continues, we will remain dependent on our internet connections to keep us working as well as entertained. To achieve best performance and reliability, we need to gain a deeper understanding of our home networks. Here are a few tactics to ensure you have the right provisions in place to enable you and your family to carry on working successfully from home.

1. Quality Internet Provider

If you are working from home you will need a reliable internet provider and a high speed internet connection. Check your internet plan and establish what speed of service you subscribe to and work out if it is sufficient for your current and future needs.

If you need to upgrade your home internet consider a business package. Business class internet connections can provide better performance at peak times and tend to include higher quality technical support.

2. Router position

To optimize your home wifi network move your router to a central part of your home, as wifi strength and speed diminishes the further you are from your router. If necessary, consider repositioning it or using wired and wireless homeplugs and wireless access points to provide faster cabled and wireless connections, Old routers can affect the speed and range so if it is more than 5 years old consider replacing it.

3. Reboot your router

Rebooting your router and optimising the router settings can help boost your internet speed and wireless signal.

4. Good practice

Closing any extraneous or unused open tabs in your computer’s browser can improve your computer’s performance, as can turning off the wireless connection on devices such as phones and tablets when they are not needed.

5. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN Network is a secure encrypted link between two locations, for example between your home computer and your office network where your files are stored, enabling you to work remotely and as productively as possible.

6. Mobile data

Occasionally you may lose your internet connection and it’s worth having a backup solution in place, such as a mobile data package on a phone or USB dongle that you can tether other devices to by creating a wireless hotspot.

If you get a good mobile signal in your home, another way to alleviate home wifi network congestion is to use your mobile data rather than your home wireless where appropriate. Before switching over any of your devices, however, check your mobile data plan to make sure you won’t go over any data caps and incur overage charges.

7. Number of devices

Saturation can happen on your home network when too many people try to connect to the internet at the same time. If several films are being streamed while others are on video calls, you can overload your bandwidth, causing everyone’s connection to slow down. In this situation you need to limit how many devices are on the network at the same time and prioritise who uses it at certain times. If you still have issues with your internet consider upgrading your plan or purchasing an additional internet connection for dedicated work use.

8. Ethernet connection

A hard-wired ethernet connection, as opposed to a wireless connection, is still a reliable way to get a good connection.

9. Mesh wifi system

If you have several users in your home and experience wifi dead zones, a more comprehensive solution is to use a Mesh wifi system to blanket your home with better wifi coverage. This will help evenly distribute wifi throughout your home to all of your connected devices. Mesh wifi also provides flexibility as you can move away from your desk and around the house without experiencing Wi-Fi fade during critical business meetings. 

10. Separate home and business usage

If you or anyone else in your house is now working from home you might want to consider separating work and home internet traffic. One way to do this would be to have a dedicated network for each purpose and applying bandwidth restrictions; one for recreational use and the other for business use (with higher bandwidth and better SLA).  This prevents your children from monopolising the whole wireless network bandwidth to stream films and play online games during a critical conference call.

11. VoIP (voice over internet protocol)

VoIP is telephone communication that is transmitted over the internet. A high-speed broadband connection is a necessity if you are using VoIP. Many home office workers choose this method of communication because it is very cost effective when compared with landline telephones. Adept IT Solutions VoIP plans.

12. Schedule internet usage

Online entertainment, such as streaming films and graphic intensive games can use up huge amounts of usage and can result in an extreme slowdown or even a system crash. Encourage children to play games together instead of individually and set daily schedules within your house to avoid performance issues and prioritise usage for those working and studying.

Overall, working from home can be very rewarding, so make sure you stay ahead of the game by being proactive about ensuring that you are well connected, using the best software for the job and are engaging in the best security practices. By doing these things, not only will your employer be happy to leave you to it, they will continue to let you work from home.

If you need help with your connectivity or any advice on making your IT systems work better please get in touch 01603 451810 /



IT tips to stay resilient

The recent pandemic has forced change upon many businesses. For some this has created challenges, whereas others have reaped unforeseen benefits from more flexible and efficient ways of working. 

Many organisations have adapted by migrating the running of their business, and the delivery of their services, online.  These strategies have not only facilitated more agile and collaborative working but have provided businesses with greater flexibility to cope with the unexpected.  However, these new working practices have placed an increased dependence on reliable and smooth-running IT systems.

Outlined below are some key areas of your business IT that should be evaluated, so you can run your business effectively and maintain resilience through these unpredictable times.

Leverage technology

It is important to understand how technology can help your business develop and grow but firstly you need to assess whether your current IT is meeting your needs. By aligning your IT with your business objectives will help ensure investment is made in the areas where it will have the greatest impact. If you don’t have the time or inclination to find out what technology is available and appropriate for your business seek expert IT advice, so you avoid making expensive and time-consuming mistakes.


Evaluate your hardware, such as computers, to assess if they are fit for purpose.  Slow or unreliable computers can be frustrating and have a serious impact on productivity as well as IT security.  Taking a proactive approach to your IT and fixing issues early before they escalate into bigger problems is always more cost effective in time and money. Ensure that your staff have the right IT equipment to carry out their jobs effectively and ensure that they have been trained how to use it to maximum benefits.

Update software

Keeping your software up-to-date is a vital element of your IT security and will safeguard you from cyber-attacks.  Regularly check that all software is up to date and still supported and remove software that is no longer used, as this will slow it down and affect performance.

To check your MS Windows updates:

Click the START button, choose SETTINGS and then Update & Security

If updates are available, restart it or schedule your restart.

Regular health check

Looking after your computers will help enhance their performance and useful life.  A service, or health check, is a maintenance procedure that helps improve the speed and performance of your computer and ideally should be carried out annually.  It involve a series of tests that will determine:

  • if upgrades are needed
  • presence of viruses or malware
  • if temporary files can be deleted
  • potential issues that require action such as a failing hard drive
  • preventative maintenance such as clearing dust from cooling fans and heatsinks to prevent overheating

Proactive monitoring and maintenance

If your business relies on maximum uptime and security, and you don’t have time to continually check on your computers, you may want to consider a maintenance & monitoring service that provides the following benefits:

  • Protection against viruses and malware
  • Ensures backups are performing successfully
  • Manages updates of Operating System and third party applications
  • Preventative maintenance
  • Offers practical solutions to ensure systems are running efficiently

A monitoring and maintenance solution (like our Bronze Plan) is all handled in the background, so that you and your staff remain productive.

IT Security

During COVID-19 cyber-attacks have become more prevalent and present a major threat to your business. Your IT strategy should outline how to safeguard your company data as well as ensure compliance to current regulations. This should include staff training about the latest cyber security attacks as well as highlighting the importance of vigilance when working online.

Tips to avoid cyber-attacks:

  • Attachments are the most common method of viruses spreading, don’t open attachments from an unreliable or unknown source
  • Do not click on links within emails that you cannot be sure are safe
  • Always read security warnings but research them before agreeing to anything
  • Choose secure passwords and do not share them
  • Be sceptical and aware of phishing scams and don’t give way sensitive data. Phishing is a common way that online accounts are hacked into and can lead to identity theft
  • Read pop-ups before agreeing to anything
  • Limit administrator rights to minimise problems such as unapproved software being downloaded and security settings disabled
  • Set a screensaver with a password to stop unauthorised access to your computer

Robust Back-up

Embedded in your IT Strategy must be a backup solution. If you are affected by a security disaster, such as a major loss of data or failed hard drive, a good recent back up is the fastest way to recover and it will minimise the disruption to your business.


Many businesses will have experienced staff changes over this period. If anyone has left the company ensure that user accounts, including online accounts, are disabled.  If roles and responsibilities have changed ensure user permissions are altered accordingly.  It is important to remember that safeguarding against any data breaches is a key element of maintaining GDPR compliance, so check that your staff only have access rights suitable to their position.

IT supports the fundamental operations within a business and can ensure your business thrives. Our IT consultants have the expertise and experience to assess your IT systems and create a plan aligned to your business goals.  For more information please get in touch 01603 451810 |


How to make professional video calls

COVID-19 has forced many of us to start using video calls for work meetings, presentations and even job interviews.  Businesses have realised that video calls can facilitate agile working and reap many benefits. Navigating a video call, however, can be tricky especially if you don’t have much experience.  Here are some ideas to help you look professional, get the most out of them, and even start enjoying them.

Quiet space

Ideally find a quiet place to take the call and use headphones to minimise any background noise.

Wi-fi and power

  • Ensure you have a good wi-fi connection. The closer you are to the router the greater the speed and strength. Alternatively use a home-plug or wireless access points to improve the quality of your internet connection in other areas of your house.
  • Turn-off high-definition video, as this takes up considerably more band-width.
  • Make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in before the video call starts.


  • Prior to making a call test your audio clarity and volume to ensure you can be heard easily.
  • Speak clearly, at your normal volume and speed.
  • When you are not speaking mute your microphone as background noise can be distracting and hinder the flow of conversation.
  • Conversely ensure your microphone is on when delivering important information.


  • Place your webcam at around eye level and in front of you, so it looks like you are looking at the person you are talking to. Don’t sit too close or far away and have your head and shoulders in view. Avoid strange camera angles that can be unflattering and distracting.
  • Most webcams will enable reasonable video conferencing but to get the best experience you can choose cameras with a wide-angle lens and high-quality video and audio for optimum results.
  • Look into the camera and not at yourself.


  • Natural light creates the best effect for video calls, and if this is not possible use a central light or a lamp facing you from behind your computer


  • Your backdrop will reflect your brand. Keep it in line with your company image and remember a simple background will enable people to focus better on you.
  • If you don’t have time to ensure a professional looking backdrop set up a virtual background.


  • Wear appropriate clothing that you would normally wear in your workplace. Choose strong dark colours and avoid patterned clothing and elaborate jewellery, which can be distracting.

During a call

  • Keep focused and pay attention so people in the meeting see that you are engaged and interested.
  • Don’t work or attend to emails during the call.
  • Greet the group and introduce yourself unless everyone knows you well.

When to speak

  • Compared to in-person meetings it is more difficult to read the visual cues so it is easy to interrupt. Wait a few moments before speaking in case of time delays. Alternatively agree a visual cue with the group such as putting up your hand when you want to speak.
  • If you’re running the meeting you can call on each person to speak to avoid interruptions and to enable everyone to speak.


  • To get the most out of a meeting that is longer than 10 minutes create an agenda. This allows people to prepare beforehand and will facilitate more valuable contributions as well as balancing out the input.
  • If you have regular team meetings via video consider rotating the management of the meeting to enhance collaboration and engagement. It can also help build confidence across the whole team. 
  • At the start of the meeting check that everyone’s audio visual is working and that everyone is ready to begin.
  • Nominate a facilitator for each meeting to keep the meeting focused and in-line with the agenda, ensure objectives are achieved, and that everyone’s voice is heard. 

Sharing information

  • If you need to share a document on the video call warn participants there may be a delay, so they don’t think they have lost connection.
  • If you are going to share your screen during a call, prepare it beforehand to ensure your desktop doesn’t show any sensitive or private information.

With the right technology in place, and good practice, video calls can be made bearable, and can even be enjoyable. They can, however, be more intense and tiring than face to face meetings and so they should be time-limited, with appropriate intervals so people have an opportunity to recover before the next one.

For any technical advice about working from home please contact us on 01603 451810 or




How to thrive working from home

The current pandemic has forced many of us to work from home with varying degrees of success.  Some people really flourish with no strict schedule whereas others struggle to be productive and find it hard to motivate themselves.  Now that businesses have set up their staff with home working it looks like there will be a shift in work patterns.  It may take time to work out how best to organise yourself so you can work effectively and keep your sanity; here are a few tips.

Circadian rhythms work when you work best. If you are most energised in the morning this is when you should do the most important tasks, whereas if you are an owl you may start the day with the menial tasks to ease you gently into the day.

Unique perks – embrace the positive aspects of home working. You may find that you have more time, especially if you save time on commuting each day, so why not use this time to learn something new, spend quality time with your family or cook a tasty lunch.

A good workspace is critical for productivity. Find somewhere with minimal distractions, is comfortable and inspiring with enough natural light. If your phone distracts you put it in another room, and if you have children, and it is possible, work in a different room.

Get creative – if you have a mental block step away from your computer, find somewhere different perhaps with a nice view, and use pen and paper to put down your ideas.

Take breaks – to promote your well-being take time-out for yourself away from work and tech – do something enjoyable whether it is intellectual, creative or physical. Research shows that exercise can help you stay focused, and improve your memory, however do something that you enjoy.

Regular working hours – research shows that keeping routines is important to enhance productivity. It also enables you to leave work at the end of the day and helps you maintain a work life balance.

Get your technology sorted

  1. Internet – connectivity is vital so invest in a high-speed internet connection from a reliable provider.
  2. Router – wifi strength and speed diminishes the further you are from your router so consider repositioning it or using wireless access points. You can also try a homeplug that will provide a fast and stable wired connection. Old routers can affect the speed and range so if it is more than 5 years old consider replacing it.
  3. The right hardware and software – make a budget and invest in a good working computer and any other hardware or software to enable you to carry out your job properly. If you are unsure what products would work best for you seek expert advice so you make cost effective choices.
  4. Be proactive – fixing issues early before they escalate into bigger problems is more cost effective in time and money. If your computer is slow or glitchy get it serviced before something catastrophic happens and you can’t work at all.
  5. Proactive monitoring and maintenance service – this will help ensure your computer runs efficiently, securely and with minimal downtime. Our Bronze Plan costs £10/month per device.
  6. Cybersecure – there is a proliferation of adware, spyware and malware so good quality AV software is essential e.g. ESET. Keep up to date with cyber threats, our online Cyber Security Awareness course makes it easy and is only £2/month.
  7. Passwords – keep them strong and unique and change them regularly. Consider using a two step verification process and if you need multiple logins use a password management system like RoboForm or LastPass.
  8. Collaboration tools– technology that facilitates collaboration is extremely important if you are working from home. Sending around multiple copies of the same document for different amendments is fraught with potential problems, such as, keeping track of changes and the latest version. Fortunately, there are many services to assist with this, from Office 365 to Google Drive.
  9. Shared mailboxes – the advantage of sharing a mailbox rather than forwarding emails to your colleagues is that you know when emails have been read, replied to and dealt with, reducing the risk of emails being ignored or multiple replies being sent.
  10. Shared calendars can help improve communication and efficiency. Calendars in Office 365 are continuously synced so the information is up to date, making it easy to plan projects and schedule meetings, even if all your team are working from home.
  11. Virtual meetings – whether you use Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype many people are now adept at using apps for virtual meetings. Find a couple of applications that work for you and have the functions that you need for your meetings e.g. screen share function allowing everyone on the call to make notes on the screen, reducing misinterpretations. Train your staff so that meetings are professional and effective.   
  12. Headphones – when you’re on video chat use headphones with a microphone, especially if your home has a lot of background noise.
  13. Group channel – now that you’re not in the office create a place where you and your colleagues can ask questions and everyone can contribute. Discussing things with your colleagues will minimise misinterpretations and make you more productive.
  14. Video messaging -whether you need to present something, ask for assistance, or share something of interest, you can video message your team and they can view it at a time that is convenient for them.
  15. Shared task lists – this is another feature in Office 365 that enhances collaboration and productivity while everyone is working from home. Information is continuously synced so it makes it easy to coordinate activities, prioritise tasks, and meet deadlines.
  16. Second monitor – if you’re used to working with a bigger screen than your laptop has, or find two screens makes it easier to work get another screen or use your television as your desktop or second monitor by using an HDMI cable.
  17. Online training – budgets are tight but there are many free online courses to enable your professional and career development. These government courses are free and designed to improve your digital skills:

Working from home can be very rewarding and improve the quality of your work. However to make it work you need good routines, have the right technology in place and robust IT security.

For more information about how we can improve your home working, or help your business get the right technology to thrive please call 01603 451810 or email

Tips for buying a new computer

When looking to buy a new computer you will be faced with a labyrinth of choice and it can be difficult to know which specifications will best meet your needs.  Whether you are buying a computer for your business or home, here are a few things to help you stay focused on your goals as well as your budget.


The first thing you need to consider is budget, this is often the main constraint but once this is decided you can find the best computer within that price range.

Desktop or Laptop

If you mainly work within your office the general guideline is to get a desktop. If you need to work flexibly, in different locations and on the move then a laptop will be more suitable.

Desktops are usually cheaper than laptops with similar specifications. Desktops are cheaper to repair, more reliable and are easier to upgrade and therefore have a longer usage life.  However many people prefer laptops because they enable flexible working and consume less energy.

All in ones are essentially a computer with all the workings in the back.  As tower speakers are often built in they are more compact and often easy to set up. However they provide less value for money than a desktop and are more costly to fix when they go wrong. 


If you want a computer that is fast and carries out tasks quickly then invest in a computer with a powerful processor. The performance of the processor is measured in number of cores and speed, for many people 2 cores will suffice but if you have lots of multi-tasking and photo-editing 4 or more cores will enable you to work more efficiently.


The RAM, or memory, allows your computer to work with on several programmes simultaneously.  The more RAM you have the faster your computer will work, for Windows 10 you should have at least 4GB for it to run smoothly.  If you like to surf smoothly between email, internet and other programmes 8GB is the ideal amount.  If you edit photos or videos and intend to use any CAD software you will need at least 16GB. 

Hard Drive

The larger your hard drive the more space you have to store files.  Standard computers come with 250GB to 750GB but if you store most of your documents in the Cloud you won’t need more than 250GB.  If you need more space later down the line you can buy an external hard drive to transfer or store files, or upgrade to a larger hard drive.  The spin speed of your hard drive will determine how quickly data is transferred, so if speed is important choose an SSD (solid state drive) will be faster than an HDD.

Operating Systems

Most people chose an operating system that they are familiar with such as Windows 10 or MAC OSX.  Linux is another option but more complex and therefore less popular. 

If you would like us to find you a computer that meets your needs and budget please call 01603 451810 or email