Internet connectivity issues prevent millions from remote working

    Posted on April 26, 2017


    A new study has revealed that a large number of workers are unable to work remotely due to poor broadband.

    As many companies adapt to the ever-evolving world of business, many are now offering their employees the incentive of being able to work remotely – whether this be at home, while abroad or in any other choice of location. However, many are finding that this is becoming an opportunity they cannot take up due to the state of their broadband.

    The study was conducted by uSwitch, which surveyed more than 2,000 adults aged 18+ in the UK. Its findings suggest that 25% of participants have experienced issues with either their mobile or fixed broadband services when attempting to work from home in the past 12 months. As a result, it is believed that up to four million people have been prevented from working remotely.

    Of those who had suffered from internet connectivity issues, approximately half of them had faced issues so severe that they believe that they are no longer able to work from home when the opportunity arises.

    Among those who took part in the uSwitch study, the most common complaint was that the speed of the broadband was simply too slow, with 32% citing this as the main reason. A further 18% had experienced intermittent connectivity problems that would see their internet access continually dropping out.

    Furthermore, one in five, or 20% of surveyed adults stated that they had lost some work opportunities or business transaction thanks to a dodgy broadband service. As well as this, the same number of people had been prevented from remote working by their employers as a result of the poor broadband’s effect on productivity. A quarter of respondents have admitted that they have had to work late in order to make up for the time lost because of broadband problems.

    In order to try and combat these issues, a large sum of money has been spent in the past 12 months seeking alternative methods in order to achieve a consistent internet connection for remote working purposes. A total of £190m has been devoted to attempts ranging from broadband signal boosters, to switching ISPs and even heading to a local internet café to use the Wi-Fi hotspots available.

    In order to save both time and money, uSwitch’s broadband expert Ewan Taylor-Gibson has recommended that before committing to working away from the office, employees should check that their remote office is ready and able to cope with the demands of working from home, such as checking that there is a reliable connection at a good speed and ensuring that the router is out of sight from other devices that may interfere, such as the television. Taylor-Gibson also highlights that working at peak-times, such as the evening, could also have a notable impact on broadband speeds.

    Alan Littler
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