6 Tips for Supporting Your Remote Workforce During the Pandemic

6 Tips for Supporting Your Remote Workforce During the Pandemic

During this pandemic, businesses have been forced to quickly adapt to changing realities. One of the major changes we have seen in society is the shift towards telecommuting. Teams are working remotely to avoid having to go into the office. It can be difficult to acclimate to this new reality, so you need to provide your employees with the necessary support they need for your team to be successful.

Today, we will be going through six tips for supporting your workforce during the pandemic. 

Focus on Team Building 

Just because your team is working remotely, that doesn’t mean that you can forget about team building. Working on improving communication and rapport between team members will lead to better collaboration and improved performance. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work Report, one of the top challenges remote workers face is loneliness. 

Although team members can’t get together physically, you still want them to be able to chit-chat with each other and create meaningful relationships. Consider setting up an after-hour video chat “work party” or create a group “coffee room” chat. It is important for each team member to have a feeling of belonging to the team. 

Up Your Communication

A top challenge for remote teams is communicating effectively. In the office, team members can drop a note on their manager’s desk or walk a few steps to a colleague to ask for advice. Managers can regularly check in with team members when they bump into them in the office.

When managing a remote team, it is important to make a concerted effort to increase communication. Check in with your workers every day to ask if they need anything, and tell them not to hesitate to contact you if they have any sort of question. 

Set Up Effective Channels

Every remote team should be utilizing video chat. One-on-one chats allow you to check in with individual team members and stay on top of their progress, while group chats can take the place of daily briefings and meetings. However, not everything has to take place over a video chat. Assign different channels for different tasks — for example, team members can use email or a group chat board instead of video chat for more mundane tasks and questions. 

Create a Schedule and Set Goals

Creating a schedule can help teams stay focused and productive. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown schedule planned for the entire day; it can be a simple 15-minute briefing at the same time every morning or a 15-minute progress check at the end of the day. Establishing a ritual is important, and so is setting goals to help your workers stay focused. 

Be Flexible and Understanding

Another major challenge of working at home is facing distractions. Some team members may have children running around — kids aren’t going to school either. Offer understanding and flexibility. In addition, not every team member will need the same level of communication. For example, some team members may have a lot of questions and doubts and will benefit from an open communication channel; others may not need to ask as many questions and may flourish better when left to concentrate on the task at hand.

While it is important to stay on top of things and check in with your employees regularly, you may have to stay on top of some employees more.

Invest In Quality Cloud Solutions

If you haven’t yet done so, now is the time to invest in high-quality business cloud computing solutions. This will help avoid hiccups and ensure that your business runs smoothly day-to-day.

Contact us for more information on how we can set up versatile and reliable cloud solutions for your workforce so your team members can work from wherever they are, on any device.

How to Clear or Flush the DNS Cache in Windows

How to Clear or Flush the DNS Cache in Windows

Sometimes slow internet connection hinders our productivity or whatever we’re browsing online for. This could be due to many reasons, and one common reason involves your DNS cache.

What is a DNS Cache?

A Domain Name Server (DNS) cache acts like a temporary directory where it stores domain names for the computers to access and read.

A simple analogy to better understand a DNS cache is to compare it to your mobile phone or any gadget’s phonebook directory. Of course, when storing a friend’s number on your phonebook, you don’t just save the number and leave it like that.

That would be really hard to memorize especially that a number contains at least seven digits. So what we usually do is type in a corresponding name to that number and save it. So when we’re browsing for our friend’s number, we only have to search for his name.

Also browsing for numbers only would be extremely hard to do compared to just typing the letters that spell out the names.

The DNS cache works the same way with phonebooks except it does the opposite.

So instead of storing names, the server transforms them into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. In other words, numbers. That’s because machines can’t read words, they use a binary language and communicate in numbers.

How Does a DNS Cache Work?

When you browse for a new website, the DNS Cache saves the domain name in its database. In layman’s terms, it’s like your “search history.”

Then when you try to search for the same website again, the browser communicates with the external server to load the website you’re looking for. However, your local server will work on name resolutions and try to find the domain name in its database.

Once the cache finds the name, it then loads the page.

Having too many domain names in the database could take a while to read and access. That’s why it’s necessary to clear or flush the DNS cache every once in a while or when there are random slowdowns.

Flushing the DNS cache will also get rid of the invalid records and even contaminated domains.

Simple Steps to Clear or Flush the DNS Cache

  • When clearing the DNS Cache in Windows, you must first go to the Start Menu. Then type in “CMD” in the search box.
  • Hit enter, and you can find the CMD file.
  • Right-click the CMD file and then click “Run as administrator.”
  • Hit “Yes” when a prompt box appears.
  • After clicking “Yes,” you should see a command window editor. From there, type in ipconfig /flushdns.
  • Hit enter.
  • After you’ve hit enter, there should be a notification below that says “Successfully flushed the DNS resolver cache.”

You can try browsing your favorite website. Or others would also do one last step, which is to go to the internet settings. Then disconnect and reconnect to the internet.

After that, you should be able to return to your regular browsing speed.

And that’s basically it!

You’ve just cleared your DNS cache, and now it will repopulate all new domain names that you’re going to type in your browsers moving forward.

Flushing the DNS cache isn’t only necessary to fix random internet slowdowns, it can also be imperative when you’ve recently changed the DNS server on your computer.

When you do this, sometimes the settings aren’t properly fixed. Hence, flushing or clearing your DNS cache can help.

Final Thoughts

These simple and easy steps to clear your DNS cache aren’t the panacea for your internet browsing slowdowns. In some cases, your ISP provider could also be the culprit.

But clearing the DNS cache will undoubtedly help if not permanently – then temporarily. For more tutorial videos on all things tech, there arefree online resourcesthat provide clear and concise step-by-step processes.

Author Bio:

Kerry Brooks is a passionate blogger and frequent traveler who loves share tips on photography, technology, and travel. She is currently working with AGR Technology, which aims to provide new information and provide some free software utilities to help computer users get things done quickly and in a simple way.

5 Monthly Maintenance Steps for Your Laptop or Computer

5 Monthly Maintenance Steps for Your Laptop or Computer

To keep your laptop running smoothly, it’s important to take care of some of its maintenance needs every week or month. Create a checklist of things you need to do on a regular basis. Here are five ideas:

Clean Out Your Computer

Clean out your computer at least once a month. A lot of junk files will accumulate, and storing too much data can slow down your computer. Uninstall unneeded programs and delete old files. Use the built-in disk cleanup tool to clean out your disk.

Clean Up Your Computer

Clean up your computer physically as well. Doing this on a monthly basis will prevent dust bunnies from accumulating in the fan and other internal areas, which can slow down your computer. In addition, wipe the screen so that it’s clear.

Update Your Software

Make sure that all of your installed programs are up to date. This will help keep your computer safe from viruses. In addition, check for any Windows updates that you may have missed and install them.

Do an Antivirus Scan

Do a deep scan of your entire system at least once a month. A deep scan will go through your entire system and check for any hidden viruses or Trojan horses in your system files. You can do a quick scan more often.

Backup Your Data

It’s important to back up your data regularly. Ideally, you should do it once a week or once a day, depending on the importance of your files and how often you update them. At the very least, do it once a month. This will let you recover your files in case your data gets lost to ransomware or for any other reason.

For more computer tips, contact us today!

5 Steps to Speed up a Chrome Browser

5 Steps to Speed up a Chrome Browser
5 Steps to Speed

As our dependency upon technology increases, so does the demand for faster and faster response times. Most of the time, our technology devices are very responsive. On occasion though, some of the most-used features of technology such as Google’s Chrome browser seem to become slower and slower.

Fortunately, there are a few easy things that individuals can do to bring back that lightning fast response time they enjoyed when their device was brand new.

Check for Malware and Viruses

One of the main reasons why browser response times become slower is due to malware and/or software viruses. Let your IT support team know about your slower browser response times. They can perform some extra security checks to determine if the reduced speed is due to a virus or malware.

Use Google’s Cleanup Tool

If your device is free of malware and viruses, and you are still having trouble with a slow Chrome browser, Google does offer a free Cleanup tool. Simply search for and download the Chrome Cleanup Tool, follow the instructions to run the file, and let it perform its cleanup work. 

Reduce Flash Use

Although web developers are definitely moving away from using Adobe Flash Player, there may be some older websites that still use it. To gain control over using Flash Player in the Chrome browser, simple enter the following into the browser address bar: “chrome://settings/content?search=Flash”. From there, click on the “Flash” tab and either select “Block” or “Ask first”.  

Optimize Image Rendering Speed

The world wide web is full of great images to view, but they tend to slow down user experience. For those who want to see if they can speed things up, try increasing the way the Chrome browser reads images by bumping up a flag entitled, “Raster Threads”. To change the setting, type in “chrome://flags/” into the browser address bar. In the search feature on the page, look for “Number of raster threads” and change the setting to “4”. Keep in mind that this particular feature is experimental and Google may remove it at any time.

Go back to Default

Lastly, if you’ve tried all the suggestions and are still not satisfied with browser response times, going back to the way the browser was originally set up could do the trick. From the Chrome browser, click on the 3 dots in the upper right corner. From the menu that appears, click on “Settings”. From there go to “Advanced”, then select “Reset and clean up”. Going back to default won’t erase any saved passwords, history or bookmarks, which are the items most people want to save anyway.

If you’d like to know more about keeping all your devices super responsive, please contact us!

4 Tips To Get More Battery Life from Your Laptop

4 Tips To Get More Battery Life from Your Laptop

No matter what you use it for, your laptop’s portability is what makes it your most important tool. The busy lifestyles of students and workers rarely allow anyone the luxury of staying in one place long enough to complete everything. A multitasker’s laptop serves as a workstation, a homework helper, and a source of entertainment. You can’t afford to be chained to an outlet all day, so try these tips to get more life from your battery.

1. Change the Battery Setting

Laptop manufacturers want to cover all the bases. Your laptop needs to work at peak performance to access important information. However, when it’s crucial to conserve battery life, you probably don’t mind some compromises. Windows uses a slider to allow you to decide how much functionality you are willing to sacrifice for the life of your battery. Mac has all of the same options in the energy saver window using a checklist. Choosing from these settings can decrease screen brightness, limit background apps, and prevent mail apps from syncing.

2. Close Energy Hogging Apps

The apps sucking up all the energy on your laptop may be apps you aren’t actively using. Check your downloaded apps to see which ones are using the most energy. The easiest way to do this in windows is to simply type what you are looking for into the search bar. Searching “See which apps are affecting battery life” or “See which processes startup automatically” will allow to you detect apps you might be able to deactivate. Mac users can search for Users and Groups and click the Login Items tab. Often apps you have forgotten to close are using a lot of power.

3. Use Airplane Mode

If you aren’t using the internet or Bluetooth, airplane mode can be a great battery saver. Disabling WiFi and Bluetooth also saves energy through the apps that constantly use them for updates and notifications.

4. Keep a Spare

A spare battery can be a lifesaver when you are somewhere you can’t plug in. Many laptop manufacturers even offer batteries that last longer than the original one that came in your laptop. External battery packs are also available.

For more information about how to keep your laptop at peak performance, contact us at 4 Corner IT. We are happy to answer all of your questions and meet all of your computer performance needs.