Procurement · 17 October 2017

Slow broadband remains a major barrier to working remotely

Internet provision is vital to being able to work remotely
Internet provision is vital to being able to work remotely

More than a quarter of the workforce are still put off from working remotely because of slow or inadequate broadband connectivity, according to a recent study.

Some 27 per cent of UK professionals said that poor internet provision was the biggest barrier against working remotely, despite the fact that remote working may boost individual productivity.

A survey from workspace provider Regus asked more than 1,700 workers about their attitudes towards working remotely. Internet provision was revealed to be a crucial part of what most people required from working outside of office premises.

Especially vital to working remotely were internet-enabled apps and tools which made file sharing and communication more efficient. The majority of respondents emphasised the necessity of Dropbox (72 per cent) and Skype (62 per cent) to remote working, for example.

In a previous study from Regus, the ability to work remotely was hailed by 44 per cent of professionals as being beneficial to productivity, and by 32 per cent as being beneficial to morale.

Commenting on the findings, Regus’ UK chief executive, Richard Morris, said: “Having access to fast, reliable internet – along with a quiet, professional working space – is one of the essential ingredients for successful remote working.

“The benefits are undeniable, and the take-up of flexible working space across the UK provides demonstrable evidence that increasing numbers of forward-thinking firms are adopting a remote working model.”

Internet connectivity has long been a major issue for small UK businesses, and the government has launched a number of major initiatives to improve the country’s broadband infrastructure.

Last month, the first stage of the government’s planned £200m broadband project began, with six UK regions receiving £10m each to test various ways of connecting local business premises and public buildings with super-fast broadband networks.

In recent weeks, the issue of inadequate broadband infrastructure has again hit headlines. The chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Lord Adonis, highlighted poor broadband as a key UK infrastructure challenge.

The country currently falls behind major economies including the USA, Netherlands and Japan in terms of its 4G and broadband speeds.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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