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Home is where the Wi-Fi is…

Technology has come a long way since the days of faxes, floppy disks and dial-up internet. 44’s Sarah Woods takes a look at how better-spec tech at home is changing the way we live and work, and what that means for internal comms…

You’ve just moved into a new house. What’s the first thing you do? Hang curtains? Register with a new doctor? Nope – if you’re anything like me, you find out how long it’s going to take to get the internet sorted.

We moved into a new house a few months ago, it took 34 days to get online… not that I was counting or anything.

On the day we moved in, I proudly christened the walls with a picture that said ‘Home is where the Wi-Fi is’ and it’s as if the universe then decided to play a hilarious joke on me, leaving us internetless (definitely a word) for over a month.

The sign was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. But it turns out that I really do need the internet in my life. Streaming my favourite shows, checking Facebook, reading reviews, food shopping, booking appointments, updating contact details, finding out the age of the oldest cat ever (38 years and three days, in case you’re interested!)… The internet is my go-to for all these important things, and much more. And I’m not alone in this.

Times are changing

According to the Office for National Statistics, 89% of adults said they had recently used the internet – a figure that rises to 99% when looking specifically at 16- to 34-year-olds[1].

And it’s not just our internet use that has increased over the years, it’s the amount of high-spec tech we have at home. Traditionally, the workplace was where we had the fastest connection, the highest quality printer or the latest versions of computer programmes – but this is now no longer the case.

Our at-home technology has kept pace with upgrades and advances much more than the world of work. It’s not uncommon to hear people complaining about how their work computer keeps crashing or their internet is cutting out. At work these decisions are often in the hands of the IT department or dependent on budget. At home, well, we simply don’t have the same restrictions.

So what are the implications for businesses?

The term ‘consumerisation of IT’[2] has been used to describe the way our own personal experience as technology consumers is affecting our expectations at work. Or, to put it simply, we don’t expect to be so restricted by our work IT.

With this in mind, here are four techy things to think about when it comes to upgrading your comms.

BYOD

With 81% of UK adults owning a smartphone[3] the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend has really taken off. Employees are increasingly using their own mobiles for work; whether they’re checking emails on the go, posting on work-based social media platforms or dialling in to a conference call. As well as saving companies money, BYOD blurs the boundaries between home and work, which leads on to my next point…

Flexible working

With better connected homes, remote working is also on the rise. Where possible, it’s worth considering allowing employees to work remotely or offering a more flexible approach to hours. In fact, research suggests that not only is this considered an attractive work perk to the modern workforce; it also makes people less likely to leave[4].

Are there any downsides?

As with anything in its infancy, there can be teething problems. The use of personal devices can bring security levels into question, as well as the possibility that employees can’t fully switch off if work is always just a click away. It’s vital to ensure that these issues are managed carefully when any new way of working is introduced.

Is it time for an update?

Perhaps it‘s time to take a look at your IT systems and hardware. Is your intranet delivering a high-quality user experience for people who can access the very best social media sites from their own armchairs? And your employees might have a point when they say the system is slow. Yes, it can be costly to upgrade, but unreliable IT could cost you much more in the long run.

We’re here to help. If you have any questions about how your business can make the most of this new era of mobile technology – or if you fancy getting more out of your intranet – then give us a call.


[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/bulletins/internetusers/2017

[2] https://www.i-scoop.eu/byod-consumerization/

[3] https://www.deloitte.co.uk/mobileuk/assets/pdf/Deloitte-Mobile-Consumer-2016-There-is-no-place-like-phone.pdf

[4] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/24/seven-reasons-home-working-future/

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