Preparing for the second surge in remote working

Preparing for the second surge in remote working

Richard Thompson, Managing Director, Indirect

Richard Thompson, Managing Director, Indirect

Preparing for the second surge in remote working

In recent months, the Channel has pulled together and dedicated tens of thousands of workhours to ensuring businesses could continue to function through the National Lockdown. Now that businesses are returning to the office environment, operations are revaluating the necessity of their physical office spaces. New data from Gartner suggests the future of remote working is here to stay.  

According to the Office of National Statistics, 5% of the UK workforce was regularly working from home in 2019. COVID-19 has obviously increased that figure dramatically.

 

74% of CFOs now say they expect to move previously
 on-site employees remote post-COVID-19

 

The Channel will soon be presented with a new market opportunity; Business-grade connectivity for homeworkers. The question is now How can the Channel best support the new norm of homeworking for businesses throughout the country?  Simply, the Channel needs to prepare for a second, possibly even larger surge in demand for remote working services.

 

‘Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be
working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.’

 

Facebook and Google are already leading this charge, extending their remote working initiatives through 2020 and into 2021 for all staff. Silicon Valley is sometimes touted as a fleeting vision of the future, and businesses will look to replicate their tactics. Not only due to COVID-19 and staff safety concerns but also to provide a better work/life balance for their teams, while also improving their productivity.

Though productivity isn’t the only benefit of remote working, businesses could save costs by negating the need for office premises, negating rent, utility bills and many other expenses. Operations can also look to draw from a broader talent pool, not limited to the local area from which employees would have to commute to a central office, enabling businesses to create a more diverse team with stronger skills.

However, remote workforces can be hindered if their ability to communicate effectively isn’t addressed. And as we’ve all experienced from using our home (probably broadband) connectivity in the last few months. Peak usage, family members sharing connectivity and location can all affect the quality of a remote workers’ connectivity and ability to collaborate efficiently.

If an extra 20% of the workforce work from home regularly, businesses will soon realise the benefits of supplying their remote staff with reliable, secure and congestion-free connectivity with fibre being the ideal product for this use-case, especially FTTP. 

 

Key Fibre benefits:

Faster Speeds
The superfast speeds that FTTP that provides enables everyone in the home to enjoy their connection at the same time, whether streaming video, gaming online, video calling with colleagues, or whatever the kids are doing these days.

Low latency
Video-calling services such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, as well as collaboration products like Google Docs, Slack and Microsoft 365 will perform far better on a low-latency connection with less judder and freezes on calls, and ensuring accuracy in collaborative document creation.

High Reliability
As Fibre connections are glass, rather than copper, they are less prone to degradation and outages, meaning higher up-time and less chance of your staff losing their connection, just before an important conference call.

 

Home-working Fibre-based services are now in high-demand, with more than 1 million new connections expected in the next 18 months!

 

By the end of 2021, business-grade internet access for remote-workers could drive an additional £1 billion in revenue from connectivity alone. (Excluding wrap-around services like call recording, static IPs, redundancies, backup, etc.) and we cannot understate the opportunity this presents to the Channel.

In the age of Unified Communications, businesses will look to resellers and ISPs to suggest services that improve the remote working experience for all staff. Recommending applications for time-tracking, keylogging and project management, that can integrate with CRMs and hosted platforms, as well as VPN, remote access and security services will also become more common. The most successful resellers will provide businesses with a comprehensive wrap-around service that considers the challenges of remote working from both the employee and business’ perspectives.

This example is only one facet of the implementations and services that will become more commonplace in reseller portfolios, and the Channel needs to support this transition to homeworking as it evolves, ensuring businesses learn from their previous rollouts that were instigated by the Lockdown.

While businesses have mainly looked to the Channel as trusted advisors, that present the most cost-effective connectivity solutions and guide them through the cacophony of competing products and services for their offices. We expect to see a dramatic shift as businesses look to maximise their teams’ productivity from home. This will also present operations with new challenges, for example, providing team-leaders with the same level of visibility over their staff’s day-to-day performance, as they would in their office setting.

We are continuing to invest in our network, especially its resiliency and performance, to ensure that our Partners and customers can collaborate and communicate freely, no matter where they are based. Our fibre services are the best performing in the UK, according to the recent Ofcom Home Broadband Report. Our customers have also given us the best Trust Pilot rating in the industry – Excellent.

We’d love to discuss how we can support you and your customers in transitioning to a more flexible, cost-effective remote-working model that’s ideal for today’s challenges. If you want to partner with the only ‘Excellent’ Tier-1 network provider in the country, then get in touch with our team or speak to your Account Manager.