It's probably been a while since you had all your employees in one place (or even seen anything but their head and shoulders). But as the vaccine rolls out and restrictions start to lift, many people will finally be heading back to work IRL. Is your WiFi network ready for them? After a year of remote work, it may not be. People's work habits have changed, meaning WiFi solutions that were perfectly fine pre-pandemic might not be so efficient now. Even the most robust networks will face challenges that simply weren't as much of an issue a year ago. Here's what your WiFi will need to contend with as people return to work on site.
1. There will still be people working from home
Experts agree that the traditional workplace may never return. Workers and employers have seen how easy it is to work from home and how productive it can be in many cases. And some people may not feel comfortable going back into an office until COVID-19 is completely under control, which could take years. (In fact, a recent study found that 29% of employees said they would quit their jobs if their employers tried to force them to come back to the office.) With some employees at home and others in the office, video conferencing via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet will remain staples in our everyday work lives. This means you'll need a way to allocate bandwidth and make sure employees with the greatest needs—for customer calls or staff-wide meetings, for instance—have higher throughput.
2. Employees are used to the freedom of home internet
Removed from an office setting, employee focus and attention has become fragmented. Employees in a Joblist survey admitted to spending nine hours per week doing other tasks instead of working: 47% say they've shopped online, while 55% say they've watched TV. Now that our work/life boundaries are more blurred than ever, it's essential that your small business be able to encourage productivity while recognizing that the balance, and behaviors, have changed. Even as they come back to work, it’ll be crucial to make it easy for your employees to take care of personal business at lunchtime or during breaks, and maintain the new balance.
3. Security may not be top-of-mind anymore
If an employee is working at home and they accidentally download a virus, any malware that's unleashed will affect the worker's computer and, if they have a home network, potentially propagate to other machines on the network. But as long as your IT security is up-to-date and you've taken proper precautions (like limiting remote access, using multi-factor authentication, and configuring firewalls) your business's network should be protected. Once they come back into the office, however, there's a good chance they may need a refresher course—and a way to protect themselves and your company IT resources. And it's up to you to ensure your employees are protected while also making it easier and safer for them to connect their own devices to your network. The right WiFi security and controls can help you do just that. After all, no matter how careful employees and IT are, we're all vulnerable and can benefit from using technology that's smarter than we are.
Make it easy to avoid WiFi woes
Fortunately, there are tools you can use to mitigate all three of these issues. The WorkPass suite of Smart Office Services turns your small business network into a fully connected business intelligence platform. It not only gives you robust WiFi connectivity (that makes Zoom meetings a breeze) but also complete control of your network and full access to your data. You'll have instant access to security settings and you'll be able to control device access right down to the individual laptop or tablet. You can even create multiple zones within your network so your data is always protected. Find out more about WorkPass—and how it can help you ensure that employees return to work safely and securely.