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Connecting the hybrid workforce

20 October 2023

Tim Loynes, Director at Cellnex UK In-Building Solutions at Cellnex UK, shines a light on why connectivity plays such a big part in employee satisfaction and productivity….

In today’s connected world of work there’s an expectation that mobile coverage will simply be there. When it’s not, it can be a frustrating and productivity-impacting issue for employees. As 40% of UK office workers are now adopting a hybrid model, facilities managers are working hard to compete with homeworking set-ups to encourage people into the office. 

Despite the plethora of communication options in workplaces, most employees turn to mobiles to make a call, check emails or access company files. In fact, 80% of mobile traffic either originates or terminates indoors, revealing just how important a super-fast connection is.

However, certain buildings present unique challenges when it comes to ensuring reliable connectivity. Outdated infrastructure, thick-walls, steel structures and the use of metallised-glass in building design can have a major impact on mobile signals – reducing their strength or blocking them completely. And if the physical building is impeding 4G signals, this will only get worse with 5G connectivity, which operates at a higher frequency, making signals more sensitive to disruption by physical infrastructure.

It’s fair to say that poor connectivity is one of those niggles that is a huge stressor for employees. Facilities managers (FMs) work against the clock to fix these issues, but for those who are based in old buildings with inherently poor connection, it can turn into a recurring headache.

FMs looking to close the connectivity gap can utilise in-building solutions, which provide a reliable and cost-effective option for boosting connectivity and coverage in the workplace. The resulting benefits are far reaching for tenants, here are just three ways it can support employee productivity, flexibility and satisfaction:

1.Eliminate dropped calls and slow connection

Designed to handle high data traffic volumes, in-building connectivity solutions, such as Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), can ensure that FMs are keeping clients their happy. Multiple users can access the network simultaneously without compromising performance – offering seamless connectivity to eliminate productivity barriers. Businesses can enjoy faster data transfer speeds and reduced latency, and maximise their use of real-time communication tools such as video conferencing, and shared document platforms. The enhanced connectivity can support business’s hybrid approach by reducing the frustration of lags and buffering, and prevents dropped calls. 

2.Avoid connectivity ‘not spots’

DAS can be a vital resource for FMs dealing with ‘not-spots’ in their buildings. DAS provides enhanced cellular coverage within buildings, effectively extending the reach of wireless networks. By strategically placing antennas throughout the premises, DAS overcomes the limitations posed by thick walls and structural obstacles, ensuring strong, consistent and cost-effective 4G or 5G indoor connectivity for building tenants. To this end, improved coverage and reduced latency enables workers to stay connected while on the move, allowing even more flexibility within the workplace. 

3.Increased IoT capabilities 

FMs can leverage additional benefits from investing in DAS solutions, as improved connectivity can support them in monitoring and managing the building effectively. The enhanced bandwidth allows them to invest in IoT upgrades to deliver real-time monitoring of building systems – such as HVAC systems, security systems, fire alarms, and energy meters. This can enhance workplace efficiency, optimise energy consumption, and improve safety – just to name a few of the benefits.

Reliable connectivity

With productivity, worker satisfaction and the ability to embrace the latest digital innovations high on the agenda for employers, connectivity is a significant factor when choosing office spaces. FMs are recognising the potential to meet this connectivity demand, while in turn, increasing occupancy rates and maximising the value of the property.

To this end, with the ability to offer ultra-fast and reliable connectivity as a key point of difference for tenants, working with an end-to-end telecoms provider allows FMs to identify opportunities to enhance connectivity within their building. 

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