What To Do When (GASP!) The Internet Is Down At Work

When the internet recently went down in the office, it took some scrambling—especially because of the remote-first nature of our company. Internet outages happen. Before you hyperventilate and/or resign yourself to Starbucks for the day, there's actually a lot of work you can do without being on the computer. Here's how I turned a day without internet into something productive:

Whiteboard a strategy, roadmap, or plan

Instead of freaking out about not having internet, take a step back and think about a recent roadmap or strategy. How will you be bringing your next product to market? Launch a piece of content? Drive more new users?

It doesn't matter if it's not your job to come up with these ideas. Working through a roadmap and plan can be an academic exercise as much as a practical one. Forcing yourself to think like a consultant, in a holistic way, can unearth new opportunities for your business, not just in your role.

Tidy your space

From the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

From the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Let's face it: How often do you clean your workspace? Now's your moment to de-clutter your desk, wash your water bottle, and finally clean your monitor screen. It won't take more than a few minutes, and there's good reason to do it: Decluttering your space has been proven to help make you more creative and productive.

It probably keeps you on the right side of your office manager, too.

Organize your documents

Ever have trouble finding that document from six months ago? Work is full of endless presentations, spreadsheets, and word documents about anything and everything. Now's your chance to organize everything into folders, migrate files onto Dropbox or another cloud storage tool to free up space, and delete anything old or outdated.

It may seem mundane, but if you can answer someone's question in 10 seconds instead of looking around your folders for an hour, then you've saved yourself a lot of time in the long run.

Document a recent process or learning

Hopefully, you're learning something new every day. Whether it's the ways you can incorporate keywords into your writing or tips for building your brand on social media, there's tons of new things you don't even realize you've learned. Write it down for new hires or for future reference—chances are your team doesn't know everything you do, so sharing your tips will help everyone.

If it's a process, definitely write it down, especially if you're not in the habit. It helps new team members, but it's also an exercise that can show inefficiencies or prove to your team that you need a new tool or resource to help streamline the process. 

Research an aspect of your industry or role

In that same vein, there's probably more things you can learn. Take this time to read all those blog posts that pile up in your inbox every day, or better yet, dive into a book or ebook that's been recommended by your coworkers. Becoming more knowledgable about your industry, your role, or new trends in your line of work can help spark ideas and make you a more well-rounded individual.

Actually talk to your coworkers

Of all these things, this is the best use of your time. Get to know your coworkers better, especially if you're all trapped in an office with no internet. Find out about what they care about, what they're working on, where they come from—you'll build a stronger relationship, and you never know what ideas and breakthroughs can come about if you take the time to talk. Maybe you can even whiteboard something new together.

If you're going crazy, don't fret. There's wifi pretty much everywhere these days, so you might have to leave the office to get things done. But don't ignore the kinds of work you can do without your computer—you'll surprise yourself by how much you can learn and do without internet.