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The Implications of Slow Internet When Working from Home May 19, 2020

Whether you have been working from home right now or have been working from home for years, you know by now just how important your internet connection is. Few jobs would be able to operate without a consistent connection, and the remaining would be severely hampered to the degree that few employers or clients would tolerate it.

Nonetheless, many remote workers settle for an internet connection that can only be described as sub-par, and while one might be able to survive at home with buffering videos and slow download speeds, professionals need something more. Whether you might be interested in a better internet connection in Cleveland or whether you’re in the middle of the wilderness, there might be an option for you, and it’s your responsibility to seek it out.

Yet while you search, we want to stress the importance of making this change if you need to as much as possible. Here are some of the key downsides to not improving your internet connection if you are a remote worker:

Poor and Inconsistent Calls

Whether it’s on Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or something else, video chat is the communication method of the quarantine, and will remain an extremely popular way for people to stay in touch after it, even moreso than it was before. Yet in addition to families sharing memories, these video chat programs are how teams meet, how managers talk with their employees, and how many ideas are shared. And there’s a minimum speed required to use them.

And if you don’t have a proper internet connection, then you will find that you won’t truly be able to participate in these calls. And while managers and clients may say they don’t mind and are understanding of the situation, that doesn’t mean they aren’t taking note of it and may not have you on future calls, thinking (rightfully) that you aren’t able to have them or benefit from them.

At best, the poor connection will slow down the conversation and become a major distraction, at least if you don’t turn video off. At worst, it can ruin a whole meeting or call.

Reduced Productivity

Loading screens don’t get things done, and errors from dropped connections can lose you a great deal of time, especially at an important moment. While you may have experienced this a few times in your life, this sort of mishap at the wrong time can send you and your co-workers into a panic.

While overall you may feel as though your productivity and workflow aren’t terribly affected by your poor internet connection, there are two arguments against this:

The first is that those seconds spent waiting for something to download or for whatever page you are researching to fully appear add up quickly, and for some people they could lead up to a few hours each week. That’s at least an additional task each week. Slow internet costs companies money, and that remains true even if the workplace is decentralized.

Second, if you look at it from an economic point of view, you’ll find that investing in a better internet connection can be a worthwhile (if not near-mandatory after you do the math) investment. Those few hours lost each week can be reinvested elsewhere, likely making you enough money or providing you with other gains that more than make up for the (potential) increased cost of a better connection.

You Can’t Get Everything You Need

In theory, you will be able to download most of your essential files, documents, templates, and other files even if you have slow internet. However, it won’t be so easy, and in some of the worst cases, you might find that the programs or sites you are using tap out of the process if your connection is interrupted or strained. Taking even a few minutes to receive a PowerPoint presentation in today’s times is too much, and every file could be a vital one.

You simply can’t take chances with your files, or those of your clients. You need to be able to get them when you need them.

Your Poor Connection Will Reflect on You

While people are generally understanding and will do their best to accommodate you and a poor connection, eventually patience will wear thin if you are doing nothing to remedy the issue. If you have the means to solve your problem and you don’t do so for too long of a time, then others will see you as either irresponsible, neglectful, or not respectful of other people’s time and experience.

And eventually, an extremely poor connection will show that, whether it is your fault or not, you simply aren’t able to do your job as effectively as you could have or as you promised. This could lead to lost clients or in more extreme situations job loss. At the very least, it could isolate you from others and lead to tension in the virtual workplace, which is the last thing you need in uncertain times.

Conclusion

We hope that you are able to find a better connection in your area (even if it’s satellite internet or a repurposed unlimited mobile data plan) if you plan on working remotely for the long haul, and that you better understand what could happen if you keep a poor connection.

If you are reading this and have a reasonably strong connection, you should take away that there are still potential improvements to be made, and that the benefits can be worth the investment of switching and the new monthly rate. If you are an employer with an employee with a poor connection, we don’t advise that you try to take control of your remote worker’s lives, but we would suggest bringing up any issues and suggesting solutions before problems compound.

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