The past couple of years have seen one of the most considerable changes in working habits, perhaps since the industrial revolution over a century ago.
Post-pandemic, the rise of remote, flexible and hybrid work has ended the near ubiquity of permanent, office-based working and given millions of people the option to work from anywhere.
When opting to work from ‘home’, individuals look beyond their place of residency, with many people choosing to work in public spaces, including cafés, restaurants and shopping centres. As a result of this transition, the ‘workplace’ has taken on an entirely new meaning.
The opportunity for small businesses to grow and develop following this new trend is huge. Small businesses used by workers include cafes, pubs and hotels that have a designated space for ‘office work’. Hybrid or fully remote workers create opportunities for higher revenues through their custom. However, with this growth comes a greater reliance on small businesses to provide secure, reliable and safe work environments, both physically and digitally. As a result, far greater pressure is now being placed on small businesses to ensure network security for their working customers.
A home away from home?
From increased productivity to improved mental well-being, the benefits employees gain by working from home are endless. In Spring 2022, 38% of working adults in the UK reported having worked from home at some point over the past seven days. Many of these workers are not just staying at home, but in an effort to emulate a commute, diverse office space or simply to get out of the house, many workers rely on small businesses as their new home office. Every place is now a workplace.
Consequently, people are frequently on the lookout for the best place to work in. When searching for a place to work, hybrid workers tend to gather where other people are. If a small business is popular with digital nomads, then one can presume that its network is reliable, and the environment conducive to productive work. Maintaining popularity as a working space can be difficult however, as more customers lead to a greater strain on their network and competition for both bandwidth and space. Not only do spaces need to be sufficiently private in atmosphere, but also in their WiFi networks.
A new type of reliance
Pubs and cafes do not typically have a good reputation when it comes to security, as many use open networks. Instead, small businesses should use secure private networks to keep their customer’s data safe. If a worker decides to frequent a small business as a place of work, they are searching for a place that can support their network needs at least to the level of their home network.
Reliance on small businesses’ networks to provide reliable work spaces is two-fold. Firstly, workers require safe networks that protect their data and devices. Second is a network that has the capacity for a large number of users without neglecting performance consistency.
What network solutions are out there?
To encourage digital nomads to use cafes and pubs as a place of work, and to support a large customer base, small businesses can turn towards new technology that offers dependability and security. WiFi 6 promises no contention, no waiting time, and no reduction to user performance. The network service looks to host lots of people and devices, all connected at the same time.
Therefore, WiFi 6 brings considerable efficiency and performance advantages wherever large numbers of people connect to wireless networks on a daily basis. The installation of WiFi 6 into small businesses would not only secure the network of the business itself, but encourage workers to use their venue not only as a place of leisure, but also as a recognisably secure and reliable place of work.
About the Author
Kevin Drinkall is Director, Marketing & GMT Strategy EMEA at Zyxel networks, a leader in delivering secure, AI and cloud-powered home and business solutions. Kevin has over 20 years’ experience within the IT industry and a proven ability to develop, implement and maintain strategic business in the technology channel.
Featured image: ©Gorodenkoff