If one word describes the modern office, it’s this: connected. So what are employees and bosses to do when the network crashes or the power goes out? Michael Erwin is a senior career adviser at Career Builder. He spoke with writer Lacey Lyons by phone on Sept. 14. Following are some of his tips for making the most of your day despite technical difficulties:

Organize Your Files or Your Desk

“The odds are that there’s a lot of loose paper around, a lot in your inbox and your outbox that needs attention,” Erwin said. He also recommends backing up all important work on a flash drive or disc. “It’s when you’re so reliant on the network that things get scary.”

Return Phone Calls

“There may be a group of people with whom you only communicate via e-mail,” said Erwin.


Whether you don’t have the time to meet with this group in person or you work in different areas, seize the opportunity for a face-to-face introduction and a handshake. That handshake might make all the difference in the future.

Get Out and About

If you absolutely have to have Internet access, “find a library or a coffee shop or somewhere else with a wireless network,” Erwin told us.

Working in another location for a while might be a change of pace that will rejuvenate you as the generator rejuvenates the electrical equipment in your office.

Have an Informal Meeting with Coworkers

Catching up on your coworkers’ social lives leads to stronger relationships and a better work environment. If you must do business, use this relaxed setting to brainstorm about future projects.

Do Things the Old-Fashioned Way

“It’s funny what we call old-fashioned, but take the time,” commented Erwin. “I definitely see it as a positive to get up from your desk. This will help you when the network comes back on. Make your mind work a little harder. We’re so used to Googling that we don’t think about how to find that information on our own. Remember that there’s got to be a paper trail somewhere.”


“There are always times when something goes down. Remember that networks don’t go down for days or weeks,” Erwin said.

He cited cases in cities like New York where workers in one area of a building don’t even know that there was a problem in another area.

According to Erwin,“It’s up to the manager or boss,” to set the tone. If he or she “becomes hysterical or panics, it causes everyone to be on edge. Know that it’s not the end of the world. You’ll catch up and everything will be fine.”

Be Kind to Technical Support

“Any time there are bumps in the system, don’t place the blame on (tech support),” Erwin said. “Your computer might be the first one fixed.”

Take these tips from the expert and out them to good use the next time your office network goes down.