As we continue to recover from COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown, the world is shifting from a ‘Remote Working’ setup to ‘Hybrid working’. For many, this simply means “working from home and occasionally in the office.” But is this definition enough for something that promises to revolutionise our working practices?
The popular perception is that from now on, companies will offer more flexible working conditions and staff be supported in working from whenever they please. The reality is that from a business perspective, progress often depends on collaboration. For many, this flows more naturally in a buoyant environment, or in other words, the office. Organisations will no doubt feel a moral obligation to create flexibility, but for how long? What if that same sense of purpose went into creating a workplace designed to bring people together, a destination that employees want to visit and a safe and comfortable, yet professional environment?
With hybrid working, the office becomes bigger than its physical premises. It combines the best of both worlds – access to essential office facilities as well as the flexibility of remote working.
In recent months, we have experienced overwhelming cultural dependency on broadband and broadband and watched the internet as a service become essential for the agile working patterns of the future. Technology will be a key enabler for driving change in our workplaces, particularly for space management, environment management and collaboration in the cloud. All of these concepts are key features of the most progressive places to work and they are all are powered by the latest Wi-Fi technology.
A Boost in Productivity
Businesses need to achieve maximum efficiency. It’s essential that all team members can communicate with clients and access any files or software they need, wherever they’re working from.
Quality, uninterrupted video conferencing means that client relationships can still be nurtured, team collaborations can continue to function effectively and meetings can be held remotely without any concern. With the excellent connectivity that Wi-Fi 6 enables, hybrid working can offer equal opportunities and benefits to companies and clients as an office environment.
Even before the pandemic, 40% of UK businesses were using cloud-based services and solutions. When an ultrafast broadband connection, the cloud offers the necessary agility for organisations to optimise their products and customer service, providing immediate customer-level benefits.
For optimum cloud services, optimum connectivity is also needed: enter Wi-Fi 6 technology. For the first time, multi-gig Wi-Fi speeds and never-seen-before performance are available for UK businesses, with everything connected by the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology.
As businesses move away from the legacy of shared drives, we can expect to see organisations working entirely through the cloud within the next decade. In the cloud, employees suddenly have access to version control, encrypted data and repair and restore protection.
Downloading and uploading large files within a reasonable timeframe requires bandwidth of at least 50Mbps. It is essential that workers can use the cloud to access and collaborate across large shared files. Cloud storage and cloud collaboration allows people from around the globe to come together, enabling global workforces to decentralise the concentration of skills in some industries. From here, businesses have tenfold opportunities to expand into international markets, with local teams in every major area. Put simply, cloud technology powered by ultrafast broadband means businesses can go global.
Transforming the Physical Office
Wi-Fi 6 offers the opportunity for amazing new workplace experiences like true hybrid approaches, virtual building management and optimised working spaces.. The necessary infrastructure can be configured off-site with minimal disruption onsite, making sure that businesses who choose to future-proof can keep working through the upgrade.
World-class Wi-Fi enables world-class technologies like location-based services. With a range of features such as proximity reporting, staff tracking and amenity traffic reporting, location-based services are playing an essential role in the maintenance and enjoyment of a safe working environment.
With this level of insight, operations teams can track the occupancy of a building with ease, helping employees feel safe in their working environment. Furthermore, by better utilising this data, businesses can enable a more flexible workforce, offering more visibility over ad hoc office visits from employees.
According to BitPipe’s ‘The Intelligent Workplace' report, activity-based working environments are the future. Offices are being redesigned to incorporate more hot-desks and collaborative spaces. These spaces need to be ‘booked’ and the introduction of location aware services offers employees the flexibility to extract maximum efficiency from their surroundings.
With more collaborative working, more devices will use the network – which is why ultrafast, reliable internet is essential. For example: under a hybrid working model, video conferencing will become the norm for in-office meetings. In turn, many more devices will be competing for bandwidth. The office internet needs the resilience to uphold this extra usage.
For businesses which require new hybrid-friendly office space, Wi-Fi6 can be quickly and easily deployed across multiple locations. It also allows the attractive opportunity for businesses to position themselves in a modern, cost-effective flexible working environment.
The Office as a Destination
Many employees will have been using smart devices to optimise their home working environment – and will now expect it at the office. According to research papers such as the Stoddart Review, an improvement in the working environment could deliver a productivity boost of between 1-3.5%.
Some businesses have already actioned a shift in smart office environments. Amsterdam’s iconic building, The EDGE, allows tenants to use a smart app for workplace customisation, giving employees the ability to modify, adapt and improve individual working environments. Smart environments need optimum connectivity to enable smooth transitions between working styles – all of which is offered by Wi-Fi 6.
It is important to state that the office is not ‘dead’ – it is simply changing. Underpinning all of these changes is the need for ultrafast, reliable Wi-Fi. The hybrid working revolution is creating opportunities for new products and the integration of the latest in wireless technology (and the upcoming Wi-Fi 6e). These innovations incorporate many of the same advantages as 5G but at a more local level, and provides a step-change in capability. Wi-Fi 6 will become the mechanism to support low-power IoT devices across facilities, creating an explosion in the volume and types of data that can be collected as well as the productivity of end users.. Furthermore, Wi-Fi 6 offers the speeds that make wired ethernet networks redundant – the “wireless office” has truly arrived.
Our Wi-Fi is future-proofed. Is yours?