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We’ve seen an increasing number of companies inviting or requesting employees to work from home where possible, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Twitter has gone even further and made it mandatory.

More companies are likely to follow their example to help minimize spread of the coronavirus. So that you’re prepared, we’ve gathered together a set of tips from the 9to5Mac team. We all work from home, and have each learned valuable lessons about how to make it work well, in addition to mistakes to avoid…

Separate home and work as much as possible

One of the keys to working from home is to separate the two environments as much as possible. If you have the luxury of having a spare room, creating a home office is of course ideal — but there are still steps you can take, even if you don’t have that kind of space.

For example, having a desk somewhere, even a small one, tends to be better than working at your dining room or kitchen table. It means that you aren’t reminded of work when you sit down to eat in the evening. Similarly, working in your bedroom is rarely a good idea if a room for rest and relaxation becomes associated with work.

One option is something like a Japanese screen. When you finish work for the day, pull the screen across so your work area is out of sight.

Separate socially as well as physically

If your family is at home while you work, it can be tempting for them to think that means you’re available to chat or take care of domestic chores. You will need to create clear boundaries, asking them to view you as being away at the office during your working hours.

Popping in with an occasional cup of coffee, good; acting as if it’s the weekend and you can take time out to do home-related stuff, not so much!

Conversely, be careful that work time doesn’t creep into personal time. Try to stick to business hours: start on time, end on time.

Minimize clutter

This can work both ways. You don’t want to be distracted by domestic clutter while you’re working, or by work-related stuff when you’re relaxing in the evening.

We recommend keeping your working area tidy, and especially putting working items away when you finish. Having an open MacBook and paperwork in sight can make it hard to relax and forget about work at the end of the day.

Dress to suit your own needs

Some of those who work from home swear by comfortable clothing, and say that being able to work in sweatpants and T-shirts is one of the best things about it.

But others find they need to dress professionally to put themselves in work mode. Figure out what works best for you, but personally I find that a switch between work and relaxing clothing helps.

Put some thought into furniture

If you’re likely to be working from home for an extended time, consider asking your work to pay for appropriate furniture. Don’t make the mistake I did when I first started working from home and sit on a dining room chair: they are designed for sitting down for the duration of a meal, not a working day.

You may want to think about other options, too, like sitting on an exercise ball to keep your core muscles active, or a sit-stand desk converter so you can stand for part of the day.

Don’t spend all day at your desk

One downside of working from home is you don’t get the everyday exercise and natural breaks you do when working in an office. There’s no commute, no stairs to climb, no meetings, no canteen…

It’s worth ensuring that you are moving regularly during the day. Personally, I drink tea by the gallon, so get up at least once an hour to make tea.

Take a lunch break away from your work area, too (especially if your MacBook has a butterfly keyboard).

Think about exercising before you start work, perhaps using the time slot in which you normally commute, and stand and stretch regularly during the day. The Apple Watch stand reminder can be useful here.

Keep in touch with colleagues

Working from home can feel quite isolating if you don’t have regular contact with colleagues, so consider tools like Slack, Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype as ways to keep in touch during the course of the day.

If your team doesn’t already have a chatroom, it’s a really great idea to create one and keep the chat window off to one side, checking in between tasks.

Check out our separate piece on recommended apps and services.

Finally, noise-canceling headphones can be gold!

If your family is at home during the day, or there are other noisy distractions around, noise-canceling headphones can be one of your most valuable pieces of home-office equipment. Over-ear models tend to be the most comfortable to wear for a full working day. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 and Sony WH-1000XM3 are both excellent options.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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How To Train Your Employees Effectively

An effective employee learning and development program can lead to higher employee retention.

Employee training programs should be customized to fit the needs of each employee.

Survey your employees to see which training tactics are most meaningful to them.

This article is for business owners and managers who are interested in creating or improving their employee training programs.

Every new job has a learning curve – and every existing job evolves over time. Consistent learning and training helps employees build their skills, and ensures that your team is growing with their roles rather than remaining stagnant. Additionally, Work Institute found that a lack of career development is the No. 1 reason employees quit their jobs. If you want to attract and retain top talent, you must create effective training opportunities for your employees to learn and develop their skills.

As with any business process, the type of strategies you use to train your employees affects how effective that training is. Although passing around a lengthy PDF or slideshow presentation may seem like the easiest method of training, there are several other training methods and strategies that can help employees become more educated while staying engaged and motivated throughout the process.

1. Set employee expectations.

Poor communication limits an employee’s ability to perform at full capacity. One of the best strategies for training new employees is to set employee expectations and clearly communicate them to the employee. Setting expectations means you and your employees will be on the same page. It also gives the employee a chance to ask any clarifying questions. Immediate open dialogue not only informs the employee about expectations and operating procedures, but it also sets the tone for future learning and workplace interactions.

2. Offer microlearning initiatives.

Increasingly busy schedules and decreasing attention spans make it harder to find the time for learning and enrichment in the workplace. That’s why microlearning – short, focused and often interactive learning initiatives broken down into three- to five-minute segments – has become so popular in the modern workforce.

Matthew Brown, chief people and culture officer at talent development company Schoox, said microlearning forces companies to “deliver the most meaningful and critical content in a condensed format that is designed to be snackable and accessible in the moment of need.”

Because of the format, microlearning is often best applied to informal, simpler training needs, rather than complex skill sets.


The microlearning method is ideal for training employees in areas like time management, professional skills development and workplace HR compliance.

3. Offer e-learning opportunities.

E-learning opportunities are a great way to make learning more accessible to your employees. These allow them to learn from any location, which is especially useful if you have a remote or hybrid workforce. Flexible working has become common for many businesses, and that flexibility should extend to learning as well.

“E-learning strategies make the transfer of learning from corporate down to front-line employees significantly more efficient and impactful,” Brown told Business News Daily. “Especially in today’s fast-paced and highly distracted world, we learn in more ways than ever before. Being able to deliver the content your employees need at the moment they need it is critical to their success.”

Darren Shimkus, former president and general manager of Udemy for Business, agreed that e-learning works because it allows employees to control their experience, which means learning at their own pace, on their own time, and on the topics that are relevant to them.

“Online learning provides that flexibility and low-pressure environment that enables learners to more readily succeed,” Shimkus said. “At Udemy, we have seen that students are increasingly downloading course content … to consume on their mobile devices while on the go. Organizations can only benefit from integrating online courses to their existing learning and development programs.”

4. Allow new employees to shadow colleagues.

It’s one thing to have someone explain how to do a particular task and another to try it on your own. Demonstrating and practicing how to carry out that task on the spot can be the most effective way of learning. Melissa Cohen, vice president of communications at Unbabel and former managing partner at Metis Communications, said to incorporate hands-on shadowing into your new employee training process.

“The shadowing process allows trainees to retain information better by applying learned skills in real time and translating them to their daily tasks,” Cohen said. “It also helps new team members experiment with responsibilities in a controlled environment without risk, all while building their confidence.”


Do you have a new hire? Start them off strong with this list of employee onboarding tips.

5. Hold one-on-one meetings.

Kathy Thiessen, senior vice president of operations at 101 Mobility, said that structured, biweekly meetings between an employee and their supervisor have been a very effective training method for her team.

“Our leadership team adheres to that schedule to show our trustworthiness and our investment in the team’s success,” she said. “Employees are required to bring their own agenda to kick off our coaching discussion.”

In these meetings, Thiessen said 101 Mobility employees focus on opportunities for skills development and building self-identified strengths.

“I like to close out those meetings by talking about the last 10% – the things that are difficult to discuss or topics an employee may be hesitant to discuss,” she added. “This needs to be done knowing their confidentiality will be respected.”

6. Start a mentoring program.

Employee mentorship programs can be helpful for both personal and professional development. Pair up each new employee with a mentor who can help guide them through their career. This type of program can also help new hires acclimate to your company culture. It gives employees someone to turn to if they are struggling, without fear of judgment. The mentor can help educate the employee through their tenure with your organization and guide them to the resources they need.

Did You Know?

Mentorships can be valuable to the mentor as well as the mentee. If you’re considering a mentorship, read these tips on how to find a mentor and how to be a good mentor.

7. Hold lunch-and-learn sessions.

Some employees learn best in a more relaxed environment. Many businesses have adopted the concept of a lunch-and-learn session, in which a team member or someone from another company gives a brief seminar-style presentation while refreshments are served. It doesn’t even have to be a full lunch – Cohen said Metis Communications hosts optional, 45-minute Bagel or Beer ‘n’ Learns in the office and over video chat for its employees.

“In these sessions, a senior team member usually creates a casual, interactive and engaging presentation about a topic she has personal experience with, and then opens it up at the end for further discussion,” she said. “Such sessions usually lead to brainstorming among the group, as well as comfortable, open communication between team members of all experience levels.”

8. Offer video training.

Video training is increasingly popular among younger generations. The LinkedIn Learning Workplace Learning Report of 2023 found that Gen Z learners watched 50% more hours per learner of learning content in 2023 versus 2023. While live training sessions can certainly be engaging, you run the risk of the employee forgetting what they’ve learned after the session is over. Recording these presentations and offering other video training means these resources are available to your team when and where they need them. They can serve as a great refresher after the fact, or as a convenient catch-up for those who missed the meeting.

“For basic training on technology tools and other standard PR and marketing practices, we provide links to video recordings and have the team make internal presentation recordings through chúng tôi so any team member can watch them at his or her own convenience,” Cohen said.

How to make your training more effective

Although the tactics above are a great starting point for creating an effective employee training program, there are a few key things to keep in mind.


Fred Mouawad, founder and chairman of Taskworld, said employee training shouldn’t be approached with a one-size-fits-all mindset. Instead, training programs should be tailored to each employee based on their skills and profile, because the success of those programs hinges on employee motivation. Each employee learns differently, so find out whether they prefer visual, auditory or kinesthetic (learning by doing) methods of instruction, Mouawad said.


“It’s important to convince employees about the effectiveness of training programs to boost their engagement,” Mouawad said. “Remember that lecture in school when you just couldn’t focus on what was being said, when your mind was in a completely different place? That’s exactly how employees feel when they are not interested in training programs.”


If you have trouble getting reluctant employees interested in utilizing your training opportunities, you may want to consider offering incentives. You can gamify training, set up competitions, and offer gift cards. You may even incentivize employees to attend training by offering paid time off.

Employee feedback

You may think you know what type of training your employees want, but the best way to find out is to ask them. Send out a survey to gather their thoughts about training initiatives and make sure you’re not wasting your time or theirs. Gathering employee feedback can also be a great way to customize your training approaches.

“Figure out what your employees actually want to learn and what kind of skills will make them more effective in their jobs,” Shimkus said. “By aligning learning and training opportunities with the preferences and desires of employees themselves, businesses will be able to keep their teams engaged and productive.”

Continued learning

Offer continued learning opportunities for all employees, and keep in mind that your strategies may need to be modified over time. Cohen suggests making training an ongoing discussion with employees to ensure it’s a useful tool for new hires and training leaders alike, and that it doesn’t become a burden.

“We’ve implemented a variety of in-depth training methods through the years, but not everyone engages in them effectively, and it would have been a disservice to keep a training approach around just because it seemed like a good idea on paper,” Cohen said.

Skye Schooley contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

How Microgrids Could Protect California From Blackouts During Fire Season

Last week, the Pacific Gas & Electric Company cut power to about two million people in Northern California during a period of high winds. The utility called the move a “last resort” to prevent gusts from downing wires and distribution lines, which could potentially spark wildfires on dry trees and grass.

With thousands of miles of power lines threading through grass, scrubland, and forest, the investor-owned utility faces a risk of its equipment sparking major blazes. It wouldn’t be the first time. PG&E has been blamed for several large wildfires, including the 2023 Camp Fire, which engulfed the community of Paradise and claimed 85 lives. And California’s electric utilities will only have more to worry about, as the state’s climate becomes hotter and drier, leading to more frequent and powerful fires.

Fortunately, there are ways to make electric power more resilient to disasters like raging wildfires. One strategy is to build microgrids that can keep essential services running during blackouts.

Nearly 300 miles north of San Francisco, Peter Lehman, founding director of the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University, has been developing microgrids for years. The system is basically a small power grid that can either work in parallel with the greater grid or isolate itself in what’s called “islanding.” A microgrid has its own internal power source—often solar panels, diesel generators, or some combination thereof—that it can use to keep a community functioning during a blackout. Because of its local scale, a microgrid doesn’t need a vast system of overhead lines to deliver power and could therefore keep safely functioning when a central grid turns off due to fire hazards.

Lehman worked on the Blue Lake Rancheria microgrid, which supports a Native American community in Humboldt County. It includes solar panels and a battery storage system and is connected to PG&E’s grid, and in 2023 it saved the community $160,000 in energy costs. During last week’s outages, Lehman says the system supported a gas station, a disaster shelter where people could charge their phones, and a hotel with several rooms set aside for individuals reliant on electrically-powered medical devices.

Lehman is also working on microgrids for the county’s regional airport and an electric bus fleet.

In Southern California, one town—Borrego Springs—has had a microgrid since 2013. The community of about 3,400 people is at the edge of San Diego Gas & Electric’s service area and is supplied power by a single transmission line. The microgrid protects residents from blackouts, which can be life-threatening during summer heat in a desert town. It was originally powered by a mix of diesel generators and residential rooftop solar panels, but in 2023 secured funding to tap into a regional solar farm. According to a report prepared for the California Energy Commission, Borrego Springs is the state’s first community microgrid running on renewables.

Microgrids not only build resiliency, but can also speed transitions to renewable energy. In a draft microgrid roadmap report, the California Energy Commission states that microgrids are “one of the most effective methods” to incorporate and control distributed energy resources, or DER—local-scale sources of energy generation (such as rooftop solar) and storage. “California is shifting to a cleaner environment,” says Mike Gravely, team lead for the CEC’s research program. “One way of doing that is expanding renewables or distributed energy resources; a microgrid allows you to integrate different types of DER.” During sunny hours, rooftop solar panels can produce more energy than used by a home, adds Gravely. A local microgrid can store that excess solar power in batteries.

But getting an investor-owned monopoly utility company to retrofit its grid could be a challenge. PG&E can’t even keep up with the basics, it seems. The company estimates its only completed 31 percent of the tree maintenance near its equipment planned for this year, reports the Los Angeles Times. While the company lags in needed upkeep and repairs, it continues to pay out huge profits to its shareholders.

Regulators are trying to change the barrier posed by utility companies, though. Last year, the California legislature passed SB 1339, which directs the California Public Utilities Commission to develop rules for operating microgrids in California. In addition to establishing standards for running these systems, the bill set a deadline for utility companies to respond to requests to build new microgrids. “The ultimate goal of the bill is to help commercialize microgrids,” says Gravely. To do so, officials need to learn how to value the services of microgrid systems. A microgrid powering a hospital, for example, extends a service to the public; how much of that cost are individuals who use the hospital responsible for? It’s questions like this that regulators are now trying to answer.

While some microgrids, including Borrego Springs’, are utility-owned, there are also other options for implementation. A microgrid can also be operated by a third party, another entity, such as a private company other than the area’s main utility, that builds a microgrid and distributes power to customers; utility customers pay this company to tap into the microgrid. “An industry is rising that is starting to offer this third party option,” says Gravely. “Those didn’t exist five years ago.”

This growth in resilience and renewable energy due to microgrids could be an important step in the state adapting to its rapidly changing climate. “Our planet is on fire—we have to do something now,” says Lehman. “These changes need to happen.”

Will The Coronavirus Kill Open

“What will it take to encourage much more widespread reliance on working at home for at least part of each week?” asked Frank Schiff, the chief economist of the US Committee for Economic Development, in The Washington Post in 1979.

Four decades on, we have the answer.

But COVID-19 doesn’t spell the end of the centralized office predicted by futurists since at least the 1970s.

The organizational benefits of the “propinquity effect”—the tendency to develop deeper relationships with those we see most regularly—are well-established.

The open-plan office will have to evolve, though, finding its true purpose as a collaborative work space augmented by remote work.

If we’re smart about it, necessity might turn out to be the mother of reinvention, giving us the best of both centralized and decentralized, collaborative and private working worlds.

Cultural resistance

Organizational culture, not technology, has long been the key force keeping us in central offices.

“That was the case in 1974 and is still the case today,” observed the “father of telecommuting” Jack Nilles in 2023, three decades after he and his University of Southern California colleagues published their landmark report Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff: Options for Tomorrow. “The adoption of telework is still well behind its potential.”

Until now. But it’s taken a pandemic to change the status quo—evidence enough of culture resistance.

In his 1979 article, Schiff outlined three key objections to working from home:

inability to tell how well workers are doing, or if they are working at all

employees’ need for contact with coworkers and others

too many distractions

To the first objection, Schiff responded that experts agreed performance is best judged by output and the organization’s objectives. To the third, he noted: “In many cases, the opposite is likely to be true.”

The COVID-19 experiment so far supports him. Most workers and managers are happy with remote working, believe they are performing just as well, and want to continue with it.

Personal contact

But the second argument—the need for personal contact to foster close teamwork—is harder to dismiss. There’s evidence remote workers crave more feedback.

As researchers Ethan Bernstein and Ben Waber note in their Harvard Business Review article The Truth About Open Offices, published in November 2023, “one of the most robust findings in sociology—proposed long before we had the technology to prove it through data—is that propinquity, or proximity, predicts social interaction”.

Waber’s research at the MIT Media Lab demonstrated the probability that any two workers will interact—either in person or electronically—is directly proportional to the distance between their desks. In his 2013 book People Analytics he includes the following results from a bank and information technology company.

Experiments in collaboration

Agency boss Jay Chiat envisioned his headquarters as a futuristic step into “flexible work”—but workers hated the lack of personal spaces.

Less dystopian was the Pixar Animation Studios headquarters opened in 2000. Steve Jobs, majority shareholder and chief executive, oversaw the project. He took a keen interest in things like the placement of bathrooms, accessed through the building’s central atrium. “We wanted to find a way to force people to come together,” he said, “to create a lot of arbitrary collisions of people”.

Yet Bernstein and Waber’s research shows propinquity is also strong in “campus” buildings designed to promote “serendipitous interaction.” For increased interactions, they say, workers should be “ideally on the same floor”.

Being apart

So how to balance the organisational forces pulling us together with the health forces pushing social distancing?

We may have to get used to wearing masks along with plenty of hand sanitizing and disinfecting of high-traffic areas and shared facilities, from keyboards to kitchens. Every door knob and lift button is an issue.

But space is the final frontier.

An alternative vision comes from real-estate services company Cushman & Wakefield. Its “6-foot office” concept includes more space between desks and lots of visual cues to remind coworkers to maintain physical distances.

Of course, to do anything like this in most offices will require a proportion of staff working at home on any given day. It will also mean then end of the individual desk for most.

This part may the hardest to handle. We like our personal spaces.

Offices will also need to need more private spaces for greater use of video conferencing and the like. These sorts of collaborative tools don’t work well if you can’t insulate yourself from distractions.

But there’s a huge potential upside with the new open office. A well-managed rotation of office days and seating arrangements could help us get to know more of those colleagues who, because they used to sit a few too many desks away, we rarely talked to.

Difference Between Coronavirus And Novel Coronavirus

As both “coronavirus” and “new coronavirus” allude to the present pandemic, they have been used interchangeably. With closer inspection, the crown-like spikes on their surfaces become more obvious. Such spike proteins are employed for receptor binding in the host cells.

The common understanding of these medical words is that the same thing has happened. Article titles like “Coronavirus Update,” “Coronavirus Outbreak,” “Brunei Reports First New Coronavirus-Related Mortality,” and “A Review of the 2023 Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Based on Existing Evidence” are all examples of news and research articles on coronaviruses. Each of these pieces is devoted to the same subject—the 2023 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.

But to be more specific, the coronaviruses are a family of viruses that may infect the respiratory system (primarily the nose, throat, and lungs). The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that produces COVID-19 is the focus of the new coronavirus in this case. Novel refers to the fact that this particular strain of coronavirus is the most recently identified. This section will continue to dissect the differences between them.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a pandemic in which a virus is causing respiratory sickness and killing more people than the typical seasonal flu.

Genetics and origin of the coronavirus − The covid-19 coronavirus seems to have emerged originally in China, where it spread from an animal to a person. The specific host animal from which the virus originated is still up for contention. It has been discovered to be comparable to the SARS coronavirus, a single-stranded RNA virus with glycoproteins on its outer surface.

Symptoms and complications − A high temperature and a dry cough are the most noticeable and noticeable signs of covid-19 infection. However, the infection can cause serious lung damage in some patients, which can make breathing extremely difficult. This results in a lack of oxygen in the blood, which can lead to cardiac issues or failure of numerous organs. Age and health factors affect death rates, yet even young, seemingly healthy people might pass away.

Diagnosis − A human sample can be tested using RT-PCR. Some nations now offer drive- through testing locations where anyone may pull up and have a sample taken for testing. The test is effective because it confirms a diagnosis by checking for the virus’s unique genetic coding.

Transmission − It is believed that the coronavirus known as covid-19 is a zoonosis that was accidentally spread from an animal host to people. Human to human transmission then happened.

Risk factors and mortality − Mixing with infected people increases your risk, although you won’t notice any signs for a time. While treating patients with covid-19, medical personnel are likewise at danger. Because of this, several nations have adopted policies of social isolation in an effort to lessen interpersonal contact. The largest fatalities occur amongst those older than 70 years and who have other ailments. Diabetes and heart disease appear to enhance the risk of covid-19 problems and mortality.

Treatment − Pain relievers are used to manage the symptoms, and the patient may also require fluids to help with the dehydration brought on by the fever, as well as supplementary oxygen for any breathing issues. In really severe circumstances the person may need to be on a ventilator to support breathing.

What is Novel Coronavirus?

The novel coronavirus is specifically related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which produces COVID-19, an infectious condition characterised by fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In addition to these, you may also experience a fever, chills, muscular and/or joint aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and/or a headache. Bleeding from the nose and mouth, a drop in white blood cells, renal failure, respiratory failure, and death are all possible outcomes.

This was initially discovered in December 2023 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, PRC. Of the several coronavirus subtypes, this one is the most recent discovery; it is a member of the Beta generation. SARS-CoV-2 is the most contagious of the three SARS coronaviruses. The United States of America (USA), China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Iran, the United Kingdom (UK), Switzerland, and South Korea are among the top 10 countries hit by the pandemic. There have been more than 24,000 fatalities and 536,000 reported illnesses so far this year.

A Chinese investigation discovered that there are two types of SARS-CoV-2. In a study of 103 COVID-19 samples, it was determined that S type was the oldest strain, whereas the L type was more prevalent during the outbreak’s first stages. There is speculation among experts that one strain is responsible for more severe symptoms than another, but this has not been proven.

Differences: Coronavirus and Novel Coronavirus

The following table highlights the major differences between Coronavirus and Novel Coronavirus −



Novel Coronavirus


Coronaviruses are a kind of virus that infects the nose, upper neck, and lungs.

In particular, the novel coronavirus is related to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV- 2), the causative agent of COVID-19, an infectious condition marked by high body temperature, a persistent cough, and difficulty breathing.


Common cold-causing coronaviruses like 229E and OC43 were found in the 1960s.

The first case of the novel coronavirus was discovered in December 2023 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China (PRC).


There are seven distinct kinds of the coronavirus, with four of them (HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63, and HCoV-HKU1) considered to be relatively harmless. MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 are the other three known to generate outbreaks

One Chinese investigation found that there are two types of SARS-CoV-2. In a study of 103 COVID-19 samples, it was determined that S type was the oldest strain, whereas L type was more prevalent during the outbreak’s first stages.


Less specifically associated

More specifically associated

Rate of Transmission

Relatively slower



While coronavirus and novel coronavirus are both types of coronaviruses, they differ in several key ways, including origin, severity of illness, transmission, and diagnosis and treatment. It is important to understand the differences between the two in order to take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

10 Tips To Use Dropbox More Effectively

Cloud services like Dropbox have changed the way we all use our computers and mobile devices. When was the last time you actually carried files home from work on a USB drive? However, one sometimes annoying aspect of using cloud services is that the features and interfaces change at the whim of the platform owner. Who can keep up with all the tweaks? 

So here are some new (and old but updated) tips for how to use Dropbox more effectively. If you’ve apathetic to your cloud-based hard drive, one of these hot tips might just make you feel excited about it again.

Table of Contents

Restoring Dropbox Files

Although you only see one copy of your data in Dropbox at first glance, the service actually has a rolling window that you can revert to for any file. The window differs between free and paid accounts, but free users can restore any changes in the last 30 days. 

You can restore individual files and folders manually. However, if you need to set your entire Dropbox back to an earlier time (because of say a ransomware attack) you’ll need to write an email to Dropbox support.

Your files should now be back in place.

How To Use Two-Factor Authentication On Dropbox

Let’s face it, the current password-based system most sites use isn’t perfect. We constantly hear about new data breaches and hacks where user credentials are exposed. When it comes to a service like Dropbox which is likely to hold sensitive personal information, the need for a better solution is much more urgent. 

That’s where two-factor authentication comes into play. It combines two separate sources of verification, such as a password and a one-time phone PIN, to make it much harder for hackers to get at your stuff.

Here’s how to use two-factor authentication on Dropbox:

Once the process is done you’ll have much more security for your embarrassing poetry collection.

Using LAN Sync To Speed Up Local Dropbox Machines

Most people have multiple devices these days and if you have wired internet at home you’ve also got a little LAN via your router as well. If your various connected machines are all syncing Dropbox over the internet that can put a real dent in your bandwidth. 

By activating LAN Sync, devices connected to the same LAN and Dropbox account will share files between themselves. Which means you don’t end up downloading the same data more than once.

Now your devices will play nice and share their data with each other.

Camera Upload Rocks For iOS Users

While Android users can easily find their photos in their Google Drive with no effort, iOS users have been limited to using iCloud, which can be a little less elegant to use. Luckily, Dropbox offers an automatic camera upload function that works on Android too, but for iOS users it’s especially useful.

To check if camera upload is on using iOS, open the Dropbox app.

Tap Account.

Now your snaps will automatically go to your Dropbox.

Selective Syncing Saves You Wasted Bandwidth & Space

On desktop and laptop computers, Dropbox syncs every folder by default. For most people this is fine, but if you only need certain folders synced to a specific device, you can use selective syncing to make sure only relevant folders get downloaded to that device.

Make Important Files “Available Offline” On Mobile Devices

By default Dropbox doesn’t download anything to your mobile device at all. It just shows you all the files in the app, downloading if you try to open any of them. This is obviously a measure to deal with expensive data and limited storage on phones. 

You can however mark specific files to ensure that they are always up to date and available on your device, even if you have no internet connection.

It’s easy as pie. In your Android or iOS app, tap the three dots next to any file and tap make available offline. Now they will always be available until you reverse the process. Just be aware that this is now a paid feature of DropBox Plus.

Use Dropbox & “Open With” Integration To Edit Files Directly

Editing a Word or other Office file from the synced folder on your computer couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is open it as usual and then save it when the edits are done. The problem comes when you need to quickly edit a file from a computer that doesn’t have a synced folder. 

Luckily Dropbox now allows you to open a file from the website directly in the app and then automatically save the edits. This saves you from manually downloading the file, editing it, uploading it and then deleting or renaming the original.

How to Use Open With on Dropbox:

The file will open in Word, where you can edit it as usual. After saving and closing the file, the changes will immediately reflect in the online Dropbox file.

Use Dropbox Paper To Seamlessly Collaborate & Work

Dropbox is quickly becoming much more than just a place to store and share documents. There’s stiff competition from the likes of Google and Microsoft, who integrate their cloud storage solutions with cloud-based productivity tools.

Paper is a collaborative tool where team members can work together at the same time. Dropbox didn’t design it simply to be an alternative to Google Docs. It’s also a general-purpose workspace where remote teams can hash out projects. You can use Paper to take meeting notes, have brainstorming sessions and plan out projects, while tapping into all the resources you’ve stored in your shared Dropbox cloud space. 

Paper can be used through a browser interface or through dedicated Android and iOS apps.

How To Integrate Dropbox With G Suite

Dropbox Paper is a smart, minimalist collaboration tool. However it’s definitely not a serious replacement for the productivity cloud apps you get with Google’s G Suite. G Suite is the paid, business-focused version of the Google Cloud apps we all know and love.

Speaking of which, this integration also lets you edit Office format documents directly from your Dropbox using the Google editing tools – without having to convert them at all. This option means you no longer have to make a hard choice between two of the leading cloud storage providers.

Bring Dropbox Into Slack

Just as G Suite has become essential to many businesses, Slack has become a critical team management and communication tool. It’s an excellent way to let people work together over a computer network, but Slack lacks good file storage and management tools. 

Luckily Dropbox have again recognized that there’s a need to fuse these two products and has provided official integration for Slack.

You can start Slack conversations from Dropbox itself, pertaining to specific files. You can send Dropbox files to people through Slack directly and Dropbox Paper documents can also be accessed and collaborated upon directly from Slack. 

If you use both Dropbox and Slack, this feature will cut down on the amount of inelegant fudging you currently have to do.

Thinking Outside The Box

These are just a few ways you can use Dropbox more effectively, but the community is also coming up with plenty of unofficial “hacks” and Dropbox itself keeps working hard to stay ahead of the competition. You could literally write a book on all the things that are possible with this seemingly simple cloud service.

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