Opinion

Is broadband the secret homeworking bugbear?

3 min read

23 November 2016

Earlier this year Hyperoptic commissioned a survey of 3,000 Brits to get insight into how broadband is affecting the length of our working day – and whether or not it was a secret homeworking bugbear.

The results made for some uncomfortable reading – on average we spend over an hour a week dealing with out-of-hours emails and over half of Brits (56 per cent) check out-of-hours emails every day – but there was a homeworking bugbear in the way for many.

According to the survey the average amount of time Brits are choosing to work from home is four days a month. However, Brits cite connectivity as the biggest homeworking bugbear – some 56 per cent would work from home more if their broadband were fit for task and nearly a third also claim they need better technology tools to enable them to be more effective when at home.

The role of broadband on our working day cannot be understated. Connectivity has a huge role to play in the length of our working day but unfortunately its role is misunderstood, with many believing that it’s an enemy that’s actually enabling an “always on” culture.

Good connectivity goes hand-in-hand with efficiency, but poor broadband lengthens tasks and wastes time. It also means a cursory glance at work emails turns into ten minutes waiting for the mailbox to synchronise and watching an email download. Put simply, you can only work as fast as your broadband allows – so the better and faster the connection, the less personal time you waste.

For businesses, there must be an acceptance that they have a role to play in understanding and addressing this bugbear. The majority of businesses now accept that working-from-home initiatives result in happier and more engaged staff. They also want workers to think and act outside of contracted hours for the good of the company.
This means that staff must be dependably accessible, which is synonymous with a reliable home broadband connection. Urgent issues don’t go away while employees face network congestion and a flaky internet service. Businesses need to know that homeworkers and on-call staff have the tools to be effective.

Ultimately I would advise that a reliable, fast home broadband should be evidenced as part of the recruitment process for any personnel that are likely to work from home. Businesses can also consider including a home broadband contribution within the benefits package.

This article is part of our Real Business Broadband campaign, which seeks to provide a mouthpiece for business leaders to vocalise the broadband issues preventing their businesses from reaching full potential. We’d love to hear your take on the debate and where you think the UK needs to make drastic changes. Get in touch via email (shane.schutte@realbusiness.co.uk) or join in on the action using #rbBroadband.

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