By Alexa Garthwaite, Business Development Manager, Executive Offices Group

Despite a tough financial climate, the UK continues to hold its position as one of the world’s most influential countries. There is still an importance on developing infrastructure, investing in science and encouraging business success. It seems odd then, that we lag behind on something as simple as broadband internet speed.

Recent figures released by communications regulator, Ofcom, have revealed that the average UK internet speed has increased by only 22% over the last year. While this brings national speeds up to an average of 7.6Mbps, the UK is still left behind many other countries, with average internet speeds abroad reaching up to 16.7Mbps. Rural areas of the UK are left operating in the dark ages (practically) with over a quarter of our country’s population having to make do with connection speeds of less than 2Mbps.

It seems obvious that in an age where the internet plays an essential role in maintaining the flexible operation of businesses, the provision of better internet facilities will increase the effective functionality of companies. This is especially important where companies need to be able to operate whilst on the move.

Moreover, for certain groups, flexible-working provides a gateway to full time employment. The modern phenomenon of juggling a full time career with raising a family is achievable once such employees are offered the opportunity to work from home, and for people with disabilities, the obstacle of a daily commute is overcome by removing the need for it altogether. That said, this requires effective and speedy technology and communication lines connecting remote workers to their teams and clients.

Of course, the effect of seamless communication from home has further advantages – with commuter train fares and petrol costs on the rise each year, commuting in to the country’s major business hubs for work is becoming more and more of a financial burden. Home working will save employees time and money, and the benefits don’t stop there. People who work from home have been proved to be more motivated and therefore more productive due to fewer interruptions during their working day. And with whole teams working from home, there are savings to be made on the reduced amount of office space needed.

One can argue that meeting rooms and desk space in the city will always be needed from time to time, but actually, there are a range of office services such as hotdesk facilities which can be hired on an ad hoc basis as and when required. As the UK endeavours to catch up with other countries, such as South Korea (whose average internet speed is surprisingly almost three times that of the UK), more and more people are choosing to work from home, and it is likely that we will see increased pressure on UK home broadband providers from both individuals and businesses to match international standards.

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