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It’s something we’ve all experienced. The internet goes down and the office grinds to a halt. These days the internet is an integral part of all office work and its outage can seriously mess up our tasks, our productivity, and our day.

Without access to the internet, we can’t access emails – that means leaving customer and client queries unanswered. We can’t use any files or software stored in the cloud. And we can’t use the online apps we’ve become increasingly reliant upon – apps that help us manage our projects and our internal communications and so much more besides.

Address Your Poor Internet Connection Problem

First things first.

Your internet connection should be completely reliable. If you’re having long-standing problems with your internet, you need to remedy the problem as soon as possible.

Your company should have a fast and secure internet connection. Any problems with connectivity mean a huge drop in productivity. Whilst a few hours every few weeks may seem insignificant, when you add up all of the employees and all of the lost working hours, you may find that those little internet problems are more costly than you thought.

Both in terms of money and meeting deadlines, a poor connection poses problems for a business. Contact your IT team and make sure someone is on the job.

But if you already have your best people troubleshooting and rectifying the problem, you can focus on being as productive as possible during this internet downtime. Here’s how.

8 Extremely Productive Things to Do When the Office Internet Is Down

1. Look for Offline Tasks in Your To-Do List

To-do List

Take a look at your to-do list. There may be tasks on there that don’t require the internet. And there could be tasks that you’ve been putting to the bottom of your list for months on end.

Make a list of blog topics for the next six months. Get out the whiteboard and ask your team to brainstorm ideas for your next project. Make a to-do list for tomorrow.

Do a brain dump, getting all your thoughts and ideas down onto paper to categorize, and clarify them.

Your options might be limited but there’s always something useful you can do that won’t require the internet.

2. Use Your Phone Data

If you have plenty of data to spare, you could use your phone to keep up to speed with emails and correspondence. It’s not always easy to use your phone for work tasks. But it’s a good idea to deal with any urgent jobs if you possibly can.  

3. Correspond in the Old Fashioned Way

We’re so used to communicating by email that we’ve almost forgotten there are other ways to do it. Make your way around the office and speak to colleagues face to face. Get answers to your queries and some good old-fashioned social interaction too.  

As long as your systems aren’t reliant on the internet, you could also pick up the phone and give your colleagues or clients a call. You could even set yourself a mini project – calling clients to request their feedback and developing a plan of action for ways to improve your services.

Or pick up a pen and send hand-written thank you notes to clients or suppliers who you value. It could help to nurture and sustain those relationships.

4. Reschedule Your Staff Meeting for Right Now

Staff Meeting

On a regular working day, it can be hard to find a time when everyone is available. Make the most of your internet outage to get up to speed with your colleagues.

Without the internet, video conferencing won’t be possible and you won’t be able to consult any online documents. But if you’ve been meaning to catch up with office-based colleagues or you have a meeting in the diary for later in the week, move it to right now.

There’s no time like the present. Follow up with your teammates on what they’ve been working on. Discuss the next steps for your project. Take the opportunity to discuss any concerns or any new ideas.

5. Take Stock

When we’re rushing our way through the day, answering emails, and plowing through our to-do lists, we don’t often get a chance to take stock. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But sitting back and taking a good look at the bigger picture can be invaluable for your work and your career. Think about your current projects. Are they on track? Will you meet deadlines? Is there anything you could do to improve your working processes?

Be brave and ask yourself some even bigger questions. Look at things from a more personal work perspective. Where do you see yourself in five years? Is your career currently on track? What goals could you set for yourself?  

Taking stock can help you to gain greater focus and work with more productivity over the coming weeks, months, and years.

6. Invest Some Time in Your Professional Development

An internet outage is a great time for some professional development. Use this opportunity to brush up on your knowledge and skills. This would be easier with the internet. But it’s still possible without.

Dig out any industry reference books you have to lie around the office. Or pick up a magazine detailing the latest industry developments. Or sit down with a more senior colleague and pick their brains.

If you regularly have problems with the internet, think ahead. You can download articles and podcasts to listen to offline and have a learning library at your disposal no matter the status of your office internet connection.

A little self-led training or research is a great use of your time.

7. Get Organised

They say that an organized workspace leads to an organized mind. Clear your desk of clutter. Organize your papers. File and recycle anything that doesn’t need to sit on your desk.

Take a look at your computer. File documents away in the right places. Move things off your desktop. And delete anything that you no longer need.

You could go even further and spend some time organizing the whole office. Archive old files from your filing cabinets. Move the photocopier to a more convenient place. Or reorganize the stationery cupboard.  

And if you want to roll up your sleeves, get to work with some disinfectant wipes (especially if its flu season) and rectify any nagging health and safety issues. A clean and safe workplace means employees spend less time off sick.  

These tasks may seem non-essential but they could boost your whole team’s productivity by making their work easier and more efficient when your internet is back up and running.

8. Take a Break

Happy Hour

If all else fails and you really can’t find anything else to do with your internet downtime, take a break. It could help your productivity.

Chatting with co-workers will help you to learn more about them. Did you know that Lauren loves snowboarding? And did you know that Dave has two kids? Understanding who your colleagues are outside of the office will help you to forge supportive and productive teams.  

And even a little alone time can work wonders. A hot cup of coffee, a walk around the block, or just a little daydream out of the window.

Giving our brains a break from work can make us more productive, motivated, and creative. It can even help us to be better at decision making.

So relax and take it easy, safe in the knowledge that you’re giving your brain and your long term productivity a boost.

Internet downtime is never a good thing for a business. You want operations to run smoothly all day, every day. But when you’re faced with an internet outage, there are ways to keep busy. Take stock, make plans, tidy up, and invest some time in yourself and your team.

It might not be your ideal workday but try to stay productive whenever you experience office internet connection problems. You’ll get more done and, by taking time to think of the bigger picture, you could end up being even more productive once your systems are back online.  

Written By
Michelle Arios is a careers blogger and a HR expert, deeply interested in the ways business can find, hire and retain top talents. Currently, Michelle is supporting BizDb.co.nz, a popular business directory.

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