A large portion of the American population, somewhere in the vicinity of 10 million employees, face daily internet connectivity issues when working from home. That comes out to around 15.5% of the workforce, and when you multiply the impact of that lost time across an organization, it’s a lot of lost productivity.
Most of the time it comes down to the user’s home environment being ill-suited for the demands of work from home. Everything from insufficient broadband to an improperly setup WiFi network play major roles in obstructing the remote worker.
“We do see that the last mile network as well as the last meter network, the WiFi network, are real issues,” says Chalan Aras, VP of Products at Citrix Systems. “I think the pandemic exacerbated that.”
Employees transitioning from the office to telework lack access to enterprise-grade services and support, including business-class networks and protections. It’s unlikely that the home network was setup by an IT professional, so the remote employee and their devices must now operate sub-optimally and find themselves in competition with residential usage for connectivity.
“If this person is a really critical worker, why are they sharing the WiFi at home?” asks Aras. “Why not another signal, not just as an SSID, but one that provides better performance as well as a secure connection to work?”
A recent study found that 36% of companies were not prepared for work from home, with most of the struggles arising from tech-related challenges. When paired with the connectivity problems found inside the home, teleworkers and organizations will need to aggressively and rapidly adapt, especially as work from home becomes permanent.
“There are many nuances in how to deal with the work at home environment, but the underlying challenges are a lot more usage, a lot more simultaneous usage, and a lot more usage of high-value traffic, like voice and video,” Aras says. “It’s a triple challenge that’s not going away anytime soon.”
Remote work means an increased reliance on a strong connection for collaboration, including teleconferences. With both network performance and security being top of mind, it’s important for organizations to quickly map out a long-term work from home plan to proactively address issues before they arise.