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What do you do if your internet goes down?

As small business owners we are reliant on being connected to the internet these days. I know that we are at Webfooted Designs! The very nature of our business means that the majority of our work is done online.

Recently a couple of my friends have lost their internet connection – and I don’t mean for a couple of hours, I mean for a number of days. Their experiences have got me thinking about what I would do if our internet went down at work. It’s definitely worth thinking about and having a backup plan.

What would I do?

I’ve got two options in mind if it happens to us:

Option 1: Work from Home

This is the most obvious option for me. If the internet goes at work and it doesn’t look like it’s coming back any time soon, I would grab my laptop bag and head home to work from there. I know that I’m really lucky to have this as an option!

This reminds me of when we went into lockdown in 2020. We grabbed everything we needed from our office and got ourselves set up to work from home. Here’s a photo of my desk when I first got set up (yes, complete with beer).

But what if I didn’t have an internet connection at home either? What if there was some kind of St Just-wide internet apocalypse? I would then think about my second option…

Option 2: The Workbox in Penzance

If that was the case, I would hire a desk at the The Workbox in Penzance. The Workbox offers flexible workhub facilities for anyone who needs it. It would be absolutely perfect if I needed a desk, together with internet, for a few days. I think these sorts of facilities are amazing and would definitely be thinking about using them if I didn’t have my own office.

What did Nik do?

This is something that Nicola Bathe (Nik) is having to deal with right now. A week ago, Storm Betty blew a branch off of a tree close to them and took out a fibre broadband cable section of her supply, and she has been without internet ever since. Nik offers Small Business Support from her home office, so no internet at home means no internet for work. And as she is working remotely for her clients, a connection is essential for her to be able to work.

Thankfully she has been able to work at a neighbour’s during the day, so has been able to keep working. But it’s been pretty stressful trying to get reconnected. As I type this a week later, there is still no sign of Openreach getting her sorted. Argh, I feel for you Nik!

Based on her experiences, this is Nik’s top tip:

“If you run your own business (from home or anywhere else) make sure you have a backup for your internet service. Have an alternate supplier / infrastructure – for example a 4g hotspot and sim, in the cupboard ready to activate if you need it.”

That’s great advice. I haven’t ever used a hotspot – I should look into that and add that to my backup plan!

What did Gigi do?

And a few weeks ago, Giedre Franz (Gigi) of Excellegy started having problems with her connection. At first she thought it was a problem with her equipment, but it turned out that there was some kind of cable damage in her area which resulted in a huge number of people being without internet. Again, Gigi’s work is very much internet-based so she had the challenge of figuring out how to function until the connection was restored. Her approach was refreshingly different to my “find somewhere to work with internet at all costs” approach.

Firstly, she informed her clients that she had to push deadlines by a couple of days. People understand that “stuff happens” and the important thing is that she communicated so they were aware of the delay.

For the work that was time-sensitive and absolutely needed doing, she connected through her mobile hotspot and did just the essentials.

And then (this is the bit I love), she used a good old pen and paper and used her time productively to do some business planning. And goodness me, did she use it productively!

  • Planned ideas for emails to her subscribers
  • Did project planning
  • Reviewed tools, systems, resources and memberships – being offline and not being able to use them made her rethink which she actually needed
  • Rediscovered an appreciation for software that she could use on her computer without an internet connection

As a result of this experience, this is Gigi’s advice:

“I’d encourage people to turn off internet access for several hours every week and enjoy the quiet, distraction-free environment. It really gets one’s creative juices flowing.”

Can you imagine completely disconnecting for a few hours every week? I think I need to try it! Grab a pen and notebook, leave my laptop and phone behind, and go somewhere where I can let the ideas flow. Hmmm, is it very telling that the first place that came to mind to do this was the pub?

Has that given you some food for thought? How much do you rely on being constantly connected? Leave a comment below or pop me a message with your top tip.

I can argue that for most of my work the internet is an essential, but there is always a different approach. As long as you are able to do the absolute essentials, working without internet can free up your headspace for creativity. Or, if you absolutely need to keep connected there are other ways to do it – find somewhere else to work, whether that’s a friendly neighbour’s house or a local shared working space for businesses.

But the thing that I’ve realised is that it’s important to have a backup plan in mind, so that you’re not caught out if your internet goes down.

And most importantly, don’t panic!

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