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The digital divide and working from home

The digital divide and working from home

Amy
Community Manager
There is a divide at the moment, between the people who have internet strong enough to work from home and those who don’t. Shared wifi with roommates, poor infrastructure and reliability issues make some places unliveable for work, but now it is down to the connection speed, and not the commute. There’s a big difference between streaming a few episodes of The Office, and home actually being the office.  Over at the Work In Progress blog, our colleagues took a look at what that divide means, and even how disconnection resulted in an amazing Bon Iver album, but here we’ll look at how to keep the ball rolling, whatever your connection. 
 
According to OpenVault’s Broadband Industry Report for 4Q 2019, average monthly data consumed per household grew by 27% between 2018 and 2019. By the end of Q1, 2020, driven by self-quarantine during March, average broadband consumption jumped 47% from the same period of 2019, from 344 GB of data to 403 GB. OpenVault says COVID-19 accelerated their forecasted broadband consumption trends by almost a year.
 

So, that seems very negative, and what does that mean for working from home? 

Well, yes, that’s a less than ideal situation, the infrastructure was not ready for such a major shift, and there are some places that have been harder hit than others, but just like we all switched to working from home in a short space, we can switch to working around internet issues too. 
 
Offline edits:
Obviously, connection issues are not ideal at any time, but there are ways to create a positive cadence with your co-workers while working from home. To avoid any issues, the Dropbox desktop application allows you to automatically sync files to your Windows or Mac computer so you can access them offline, so if your connection drops while you’re working on something, your work will not be lost, and will be updated when your computer reconnects. Dropbox Paper on mobile also allows offline access, meaning you can update your docs anytime, anywhere and the changes will be shared with team members when the internet connection allows. 
 
Zoom: 
Zoom is one of the places where a poor connection is obvious. We all have the fear of missing something important when the stream freezes, but with the Dropbox Zoom integration, you can quickly find information shared in recorded Zoom meetings by having video recordings and transcripts automatically copied to Dropbox, meaning you can revisit a call when there is less of a pinch point on the wifi. Find out more about how you can make the most of Zoom with Dropbox here
 
Asynchronous work: 
We’re big fans of working async when needed, working with people in different offices, countries and continents, there can be small windows where a whole team is online. A call might not be possible, with some people before their first cup of coffee, and others who are off back to back meetings, so the output may be less than ideal. By adding comments and notes to documents in Dropbox, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page, no matter what time they are online. With to-dos, mentions and attributions on Dropbox Paper, there is no confusion about who has contributed and the next steps. You can find more Paper tips here.
 
Working from home has its ups and downs, but hopefully these tips will keep your work going, even if your internet doesn’t feel like it. 
 
Have you changed how you work because of your internet connection? 
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We love to learn from the educators who use Dropbox. Whether you teach kids, teens, adults or a combination of all three, we want to know what apps and integrations you use with Dropbox to help with teaching. Which of the ones below is your favorite, or most used tool?
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