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How to stay productive when the internet goes out

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SmallBusiness.com How-tos are step-by-step instructions for specific small business tasks. They are created and edited by readers like you. You can help edit this How-to or you can create your own. Find more How-tos at the SmallBusiness.com How-to Hub.


According to a report by the Federal Communications Commission, two-thirds of small businesses in America rely on broadband internet for day-to-day operations, communication, research, monitoring and collaboration.[1]

If your business is among one of the many that rely on the internet, these eight things will keep you productive when the internet goes out.


  • Use your iPhone as a Wifi hotspot
  • Have a backup mobile hotspot.
  • Your internet service provider may offer Wifi nearby. Know where
  • Know where there is public Wifi nearby.
  • Go to lunch.
  • Have a "rainy day" (internet's down?) project standing by.
  • Tame your wires and cables.
  • Time Shift Employee Meetings.

Use your iPhone as a Wifi hotspot

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Tethering your computer to your smartphone turns your smartphone into a Wifi modem for another device by sharing wireless internet connection. In order for you to tether your smartphone or tablet you will need to first make sure it fits your system requirements and that your wireless carrier offers a personal hotspot.

Have a backup mobile hotspot

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Tethering your iPhone is a handy option. However, turning your smartphone into a personal hotspot will quickly drain your battery life. An option for faster and longer wifi access is buying your own mobile hotspot — most wireless service providers now sell them. Mobile hotspots also allow multiple users to join, getting your entire office back online in a matter of minutes.

Your internet service provider may offer Wifi nearby. Know where

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Some wireless service providers such as Xfinity and AT&T offer free Wifi to their users in various public locations ranging anywhere from airports and hotels to restaurants and coffee shops. Check to see if this option is available to you then find a location.

Know where there is public Wifi nearby

If your employees can work remotely, allowing them to move to a nearby coffee shop or library might be a temporary, quick fix. However, it is not a good one for several reasons, the primary one being the security risk that these networks pose. If your team isn't used to working remotely and your managers aren't used to running a team that works remotely, this option can turn into a big waste of time.

Go to lunch

If your business loses its connection in the morning it's not a bad idea to take an early lunch. This will keep you from wasting time and get you away from your desk while your office waits to get back on the "grid."

Have a "rainy day" project standing by

If your business is 100 percent dependent on internet access and it's down temporarily, have some projects standing by that will actually improve your efficiency when you're back online. Ideas include organizing your computer's desktop and files, or doing long-delayed system cleanup chores.

Tame your wires and cables

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The next time there is a Wifi lull at work we encourage getting under your desk with a few zip ties and getting the job done.

Time Shift Employee Meetings

Do you have regularly scheduled office or team meetings? The next time your office’s internet goes down, try to use the time slot to shift the next meeting forward.

See also