Does everything have to grind to a halt when the electricity is down? Surely, in today's tech-savvy day and age that shouldn't be the case. But, a regular nine-to-five work day at the office can become 10 times more stressful if an electricity outage takes you by surprise. We take a look at some of the more innovative ways of still being productive, even when Eskom hits us with load shedding...
How to be productive during load shedding
1). Get the gadgets
When load shedding hits, it's easy to think there's no way you can still get work done. Everything from sending an e-mail to uploading a document relies on electricity - and a strong internet connection. But these tech gadgets can help ease the stress. Ever heard of a Mi-Fi router? It's a portable, battery-powered, mobile device that can deliver an LTE connection to all WiFi-connected devices. Takealot offers several options. Power banks are also always a useful investment, and there are some reasonably-priced ones available at the moment. If your laptop is down, you can charge your phone and still do some online work.
ALSO SEE: 5 Tech Innovations Changing The World
2). Power up
This is where things get pricey. But, it'll be worth it in the long run. There are various power and electricity backup options out there, so do some research before you settle on one that's right for you and the way you work. The Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) unit is useful if you want to run several devices from one power supply. It's essentially a battery in a box box with multiple AC outlets. An inverter could also solve your load shedding problems as it'll keep small business electronics going, including laptops or PCs and a Wi-Fi router. Something to remember on the other side of load shedding is that power surges when the electricity comes back can damage appliances and electronics. Surge protectors are useful here. They're fairly cheap and will minimise the damage from possible power surges.
3). Plan ahead
You've probably heard this before, and you know you should. But somehow load shedding can still take you by surprise. Planning ahead is crucial. Firstly, download the aptly-named EskomSePush app from your app store. It's accurate and reliable and will help you plan for when the lights go out. You should also try to charge devices and electronics beforehand, and turn on the auto-save function on your computer so work isn't lost in a sudden electricity outage. Lastly - and this is slightly less tech-savvy, but still important. If you need several cups of coffee to keep you working productively, store hot water in a flask so you don't reach the 3pm slump with no caffeine boost.
4). Be switched on
It's great if your inverter or UPS is working hard to keep your small business electronics going, but working in the dark is pretty miserable. But, there are loads of lighting options that'll keep the energy going during load shedding. Think about buying something like solar-powered energy lights or battery-powered lamps. The light is strong and they should get you through the 4 or 5 hours of darkness. Check out stores like Makro, Builders and Takealot for options.
5). Get creative
Sometimes, it's worth it to just put the pens down, close the laptop and take a break to breathe. Maybe not for the whole load shedding duration, but for a portion of it. Go for a walk with your colleagues, have a quick brainstorming session in a casual setting, chat while you catch up on admin like tidying your desk or sorting files. Charge your phone in the car on the way to a coffee shop. When you come back to work, you'll feel refreshed and energised, and ready to tuck into last night's leftovers. That sadly can't be reheated.