Slow broadband blocks millions from remote jobs

Slow internet speeds are holding back remote work opportunities for millions – learn how to check your connection to unlock your full remote working potential.

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In an age where remote work has become the norm for many, reliable internet connectivity is at the pinnacle of everything. So could your broadband speed be halting your chances of new work opportunities?

Whether it’s troubleshooting connectivity issues or increasing performance, optimal internet connection and finding dependable broadband providers are essential for securing remote work. So here’s how you can check yours…

Here comes the math

No longer confined by office walls, millions have embraced the freedom and flexibility of working from home – or even abroad as multiple countries have made it easier to work from abroad as a digital nomad. But with this freedom comes a proviso – the need for speed – as these stats demonstrate.

  • The term “remote jobs” is searched for over 18,000 times per month in the UK on Google: a 410% increase over the last 5 years.
  • The number of fully remote jobs is growing, with over 16,000+ remote jobs on Linkedin in the UK currently (as of December 2023)
    Over half of broadband customers have experienced problems with their connection in the past year, according to the latest Which? broadband satisfaction survey.
  • A 2023 survey of 4,000 broadband customers found that very slow speeds was one of the most common grievances.
  • Around 17% of customers overall said they’d suffered slow speeds at some point in the past year, despite the year’s price increases. 

The ideal broadband speed for home working

Remote work relies heavily on a stable and swift internet connection. The recommended broadband speed depends on the nature of your work tasks. 

An ideal broadband speed for efficient remote work typically exceeds 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 30 Mbps for uploads. These speeds guarantee smooth swift file transfers, and seamless access to cloud-based tools, ensuring productivity doesn’t suffer. 

However, for video conferencing or handling larger files, you might need speeds upwards of 50-100 Mbps for a seamless experience.

According to a survey from Which?, router problems were an issue for 14% of broadband users, plus 14% of customers said they’d been “left without a connection for at least an hour.” 

Some 12% of customers told them that they’d experienced slow or disrupted music/video streaming, and “an unlucky – though substantial – minority (8%) had been left without their connection for more than a day.”

This is where assessing your broadband speed becomes pivotal – and fortunately, providers like BT and Virgin Media offer easy-to-use speed checkers for their customers. 

Performing these checks regularly can unveil any issues with your internet connection, allowing you to take the necessary steps to enhance your remote work setup.

Evaluating your broadband speed

Curious about your current broadband performance? Both BT and Virgin Media offer reliable speed checkers for their customers. Here’s how to check your speed:

BT Broadband speed checker:

On their website, BT states that your broadband speed can vary for the first 10 days after connection as your line adjusts – but after that period it is advisable to test your broadband for any problems you may have after this time.

BT’s tips on how to make your reading more accurate come in the form of a brochure which you can read online, that mostly discusses the optimal locations to place your hub.

Virgin Media Broadband speed checker:

Virgin Media uses an independent speed checker powered by SamKnows, which is supposed to give you an accurate reading of your broadband speeds on any UK network. They also share tips on making your reading more accurate:

  • Close all other browser tabs, windows and apps.
  • Disconnect your other devices or consoles from the WiFi as they can interfere with the signal.
  • Switch off antivirus software and firewalls, if possible.
  • Check your device is not too old to be compatible with high broadband speeds.
  • Test your broadband speed at different times of day for an average reading.

Taking a proactive approach to monitor and optimise your broadband speed can make all the difference in unlocking the full potential of remote work. 

Whether it’s sending across large files or keeping up good communication with your team, a solid internet connection is the gateway to seizing remote job opportunities and ensuring seamless productivity, all from the comfort of your home.

Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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