Your hybrid work strategy starts with fibre internet
We may be gradually emerging from lockdown, but many of us are unlikely to ever return to the office full time.
That’s the message from a recent blizzard of statistics. A survey by Cisco Systems found that 53% of larger organisations plan to reduce the size of their offices, and three quarters will increase flexible work options.
Research by the Institute of Directors also found that more than half of respondents planned to move more staff to permanent home working and hybrid work.
Whatever the size and sector of your own business, you’re unlikely to escape the clamour for more flexible working. Over the last year, staff have become used to fewer commutes and greater control over their own time. Talent is likely to insist on some degree of hybrid working in the future, which means organisations that retain rigid on-premise policies could face serious recruitment and retention issues.
Equipping home workers for success
With that in mind, it may be time for businesses to review their own homeworker strategy. Many organisations and employees switched to home working almost overnight at the start of the pandemic. That showed real resourcefulness, but the kind of piecemeal solutions implemented in an emergency may not be suitable for a long-term transition to hybrid working.
Connectivity is at the heart of your homeworker strategy, because internet speed is the foundation on which every other digital service is built. If you want homeworking staff to communicate smoothly over video, or exploit the latest cloud-based productivity apps, their connectivity must be able to cope.
The fact is, many of your home working staff may rely on connections that stop them from doing their very best work. In these circumstances, there’s a compelling business case for helping staff purchase the fibre optic broadband they really need.
Poor connectivity holds business back
It stands to reason that slow file downloads, stuttering video calls and frozen online apps reduce productivity. In fact, Research by Sandisk estimates that slow internet connections cost workers one working week every year in lost time.
And it’s true to say that the need for faster, more reliable connections is only going to grow. Whether office or home based, we’re all relying on virtual communications tools more than ever. Companies are increasingly transferring core services and applications to the cloud. One result of the pandemic has been to provide a spur for faster, more comprehensive digital transformation.
And don’t forget, the ISDN switch off isn’t far away. The wholesale adoption of all-IP communications will put a further strain on corporate networks. More than anything, it will stretch the basic consumer connections that many home workers rely on to the limit.
Fibre internet is the answer
Not all staff need faster connections. Those whose main requirements are email, web browsing and basic internet telephony can probably manage on slower ADSL connections that use copper wires. That’s assuming there isn’t too much competition for bandwidth from gamers and Netflix streamers in the same house.
But for just about everyone else, the truth is that the more fibre optic cable in a broadband connection, the faster, more reliable and more work-friendly it will be. FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) and Full-fibre FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) give home working staff the freedom to exploit a new generation of digital tools and services.
Full-fibre FTTP broadband is state-of-the-art connectivity, built on end-to-end fibre. We’re currently offering Full-fibre download speeds of up to 314Mbps. That's ideal for leadership teams, core IT staff, creatives and other data-hungry users who need the fastest, most reliable connection.
FTTC, meanwhile, uses fibre to the local cabinet, and copper from the cabinet to homes and premises. The copper element makes it slower and less sturdy than Full-fibre broadband, but with an average speed of up to 76Mbps it’s still a large step up from all-copper alternatives. FTTC lets your home workers enjoy clearer IP voice and video calls, join conferences, and collaborate with colleagues in real time.
The bottom-line benefits of fibre internet
Upgrading key remote workers to FTTC or full-fibre connections at home makes sense, because it allows them to make full use of tools that enhance productivity and communications.
And while upgrading to fibre internet will involve a financial outlay, the longer-term benefits far outweigh the upfront expense.
You don’t have to take our word for it. A 2018 report for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport estimated the impacts of the superfast broadband rollout. It found that firms adopting connectivity with a 200 to 500 Mbps increase in download speeds benefited from an estimated 3% incremental impact on turnover per worker.
In other words, faster connectivity makes for more effective employees. That comes from higher productivity and increased levels of innovation, as organisations exploit the freedom to adopt the latest technologies. As processes speed up, staff have more time to spend on other tasks.
For many organisations, home working isn’t going away. Your people like it, at least for some of the working week, and it might allow you to reduce office space and cut costs.
But for long-term remote and hybrid working to be successful, employees have to be properly equipped. As we’ve seen, fibre internet is the foundation on which the future of remote working will be built.