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Two-thirds of UK adults to work remotely more often after Covid-19

Research commissioned by Ciena reveals how coronavirus pandemic will likely change UK internet usage, as increased use of online home working applications is complemented by commensurate rise in online education

Confirming other studies that have made the clear point that the new normal of mass home working will persist into the short- and mid-term at least, research from networking systems, services and software company Ciena has found that the just over two-thirds of British adults currently working from home fully expect to carry on doing so.

The study, conducted by Opinium in May 2020, surveyed 1,000 UK adults on their internet habits and usage before and during lockdown, and found that 69% of British adults are now working from home at least some of the time, up from just 9% before Covid-19 measures took effect.

Yet this 776% increase is regarded by Ciena as not just a temporary change, but in fact the complete opposite, as the study also found that more than two-thirds (68%) expect to work remotely more often even after lockdown restrictions ease. Of these people, just over three-fifths believe this will be all the time or much more frequently than before the pandemic.

The research also found that during lockdown, 62% of British adults were making more video calls to connect with colleagues and more than a quarter (26%) have taken steps to improve their home internet since the lockdown came into effect.

The most common changes are: upgrading broadband packages (10%), purchasing a wireless/Wi-Fi extension or booster kit (8%), switching to a different broadband provider (8%), and purchasing a new wireless/Wi-Fi router (8%), demonstrating said the research that British workers are willing to spend money to get faster, more reliable connectivity at home.

Ciena found that the transition to working remotely has generally been positive, with the research revealing that only a quarter (27%) of workers find it difficult.

This figure was lower for private-sector workers (24%) compared to public-sector workers (33%). The study speculated that one reason that some may have found the transition challenging is the lack of access to the enterprise-grade internet connectivity found in their office.

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Yet it was not just remote working that was increasing demand on home internet connections. Just over half were watching more news and current affairs, and 49% are watching more TV and movies online. This, said Ciena, was not unsurprising given the restrictions on social activities put in place during lockdown, noting that this increased use of internet-reliant entertainment is putting more demand on home broadband, which is now a de facto working infrastructure.

“The data overwhelmingly shows that the lines between our personal and professional lives are becoming increasingly blurred as we adapt to working from home more often,” said Jamie Jefferies, general manager and vice president, EMEA at Ciena.

“With more demand on our home broadband, we are looking to upgrade in every way we know how, all to make sure we have a good enough connection now and in the future. This presents a unique opportunity for network providers as connectivity priorities change.

“This shift also has a significant impact on businesses and network providers. Until now, high-speed broadband and bandwidth were primarily focused around urban areas, particularly in big cities like London, where there is a high density of businesses that require enterprise-grade connectivity. With more people working remotely, both short and longer-term, employers and network providers will need to change how they deliver connectivity to users.”

The survey was released at the same time that a leading Russian telecommunications company announced that it had upgraded its grid network with Ciena’s coherent optical technology, allowing it to offer unique, high-performance connectivity services to its customers. 

The survey was released at the same time that leading Russian telecommunications company announce that it had upgraded its grid network with Ciena’s coherent optical technology, allowing it to offer unique, high-performance connectivity services to its customers.

To support its customer needs, GlobalNet deployed WaveLogic 5 Extreme (WL5e), which allows its customers to provide reliable, flexible and cost-efficient access to higher-quality bandwidth to interconnect data centres.

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