Working From Home With a Power or Internet Outage

When you work from home, a power or Internet outage can be more than just inconvenient; it can be money out of your pocket. So formulate a backup plan now for that inevitable power and Internet outage, and you’ll thank yourself later.

A power outage and internet outage are different things. But they often occur simultaneously, and some of the solutions are the same. For both types of outages, planning ahead is the key to minimizing headaches.

Prepare in Advance

Sometimes a power loss is without warning, but often in these days of the 24-hour news cycles, we are bombarded with news of a coming storm. Make sure all your devices are fully charged. Download or print out documents that you might need access to without the Internet.

Go to the Office

Just as some office workers telecommute during weather events, if your company has an office nearby, you may have to go into the office if there is a power or Internet outage at your home. Try to arrange a backup plan in advance with the office manager. Perhaps, there’s a free desk available, or if not, maybe you can set up in a conference room. But one drawback is that you may have to find child care at the last minute, so have a backup child care plan.

Find Free WiFi at a Local Shop or Restaurant

If you have a laptop or a netbook, park yourself in a coffee shop, bookstore or other location with free WiFi. Lots of local places offer it, as do many national chains such as McDonalds. Of course, if the power or Internet outage is widespread in your area, these places could be closed or have no WiFi either. If you bring the kids along, be sure to have plenty for them to do, and be a good customer and purchase from the shop.

Purchase a Device for Mobile Broadband

This might mean a laptop or netbook with mobile broadband capabilities, but it could be as simple as buying a mobile broadband USB stick, a modem that plugs in like a flash drive. Cell phone companies will often give the device for free if you sign up for a monthly plan. If you only plan to use it for emergencies and working vacations, you may want to purchase one with a pay-as-you-go plan.

Tether Your Cell Phone to Your Computer

Many cell phones can be used as mobile broadband modems, although this only helps if you are only experiencing an Internet outage, not power too. But it definitely will come in handy if you use a desktop computer and can’t take your work out to a free wifi location. However, special equipment may be needed, so learn how to tether your phone to your laptop before you have an Internet outage.

Charge Your Laptop in Your Car

Mobile broadband doesn’t do you much good if your power is out too, right? Use your car as a giant charger. If your car doesn’t have an outlet, you’ll need a car charger adapter. Buy this in advance. Don’t wait until you need it!

Invest in a Back-up Generator

This is a fairly drastic solution, and probably only practical for people with large businesses in areas that frequently lose power. And likely it is something that business owners only need if they have to power more than their own computer. For instance, if the loss of refrigeration could mean a business loss, it may be a worthwhile investment.