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Is This The New Normal?
After the initial rush to set up VPNs, remote desktop and IP telephony, much of the country’s workforce is now settling down to another week of home working. The on-going situation is not clear but it’s likely that social distancing will remain for quite some time. We may well be looking at home working for many months and once business owners are used to this, some may decide that they do not need their current premises. Add to this the fact that BT Openreach are going to have an enormous backlog of work IF they return to normal business on June 1st, and we are faced with a huge change to way that businesses operate in the medium term.
Alongside long-term employee well-being and productivity, business owners will need to ensure that employees’ home-working environment are suitable for purpose: correct work-station H&S, lighting and of course bandwidth. Assuming that many children and other family members are going to be grounded/home-schooling for some time, demand on internet bandwidth is going to remain at a premium.
Over past fortnight most businesses have been using some kind of video conferencing – Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc – as well as VoIP telephony to communicate with staff and customers. Trying to maintain a good connection for both family and work will be difficult. As Openreach has stated that they will not be installing any new lines until June at the earliest then finding a solution to this will be challenging.
For those living in an area serviced by a decent Wi-Fi broadcaster such as Fibre Wi-Fi in Chelmsford, this can provide a great answer (likewise Skyline in Epping and Luminet in London, two of our best providers). However, we have provided several customers with 4G routers during this crisis. Another good solution is to keep the family on the existing connection (e.g. TV, Netflix, gaming, music) and connect work devices to the Work Wi-Fi. This way, your weekly or daily group call doesn’t bug out when your thirteen-year-old gets through an important stage of their favourite X-Box game.
Of course, you would need to check your 4G connection speed to ensure you have a decent signal – please let us know if you’d like to know how to do this or would like information on more effective home-working.