A new survey and report from Waveform reveals 15.5% of its respondents are facing daily internet connectivity issues working from home. This is in addition to those facing weekly (22.2%) and monthly (15.2%) connectivity issues.
Considering more than half (57%) of the U.S. workforce is now working from home because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the 15.5% who face daily connectivity issues represent a large number of people. The Waveform report says more than 10 million U.S. employees working from home are suffering from poor cell signal coverage and daily internet connectivity issues.
Internet and cellular connectivity are critically important for any type of remote work. And Waveform was asking the issue of connectivity in another survey in 2018.
In this year’s survey, 12.5% of the respondent say they have bad or very bad cell signals at home. But the good news is the vast majority, 70.2% say they have a good or very good signal. The downside compared to 2018 is 11% fewer respondents say they have a very good signal.
The signal or network they want is also changing. The respondents say they are looking to use LTE as an alternative replacement to their broadband service.
The Number of People Working from Home in the U.S.
The U.S. now has more cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world. And until further notice, over half of the workforce in the country are having to adopt some sort of remote work capability. According to Waveform, this comes out to 85 million people. And this has inadvertently created the largest experiment with remote work in the history of the country.
The data companies gather from this forced experiment will greatly dictate how remote work gets applied moving forward. In the case of Waveform, the company saw a 200% increase in demand for cell signal booster. And this is in part what led the company to find out what other issues these new home workers are facing.
How is it Like Working from Home?
Working from home is nothing new, there are millions of people who regularly work remotely. The difference, in this case, is tens of millions of people were forced to adopt this way of working simultaneously.
Taking into account they are new to this; the survey asks how they like working from home. A high number of respondents (60.4%) say they prefer it to their workplace. And almost half (48.8%) wish it was permanent.
However, not everyone is on board with this way of working, 25.4% say they don’t like working from home and 36.4% don’t want it to be permanent. An almost equal number, just under 15%, say it doesn’t make a difference either way.
Beyond their likes and dislike of working from home, how productive are they? A little over a third (33.9%) say they are getting less done from home, with 25.2% saying they are getting more done. but the overall majority (40.8%) say they are getting about the same work done from home.
In terms of demographics, 18-44-year old’s represent the largest group with 64%. Those 45-60 years of age also have more than half (51.6%) of their age group working remotely. And for those over 60 years old, 45.6% of their group is working from home.
Phones and COVID-19
Since most of the data in the survey is being driven by COVID-19 it was only natural to ask about phone sanitization. Waveform says the question comes from one of its team members.
How often are you disinfecting your cell phone to prevent the spread of coronavirus? Considering a cell phone is on your hand, car, stores and other places it is very timely.
Here is how Americans answered:
- Never – 15.8%
- I’ve disinfected once or twice – 21.9%
- Weekly – 12.5%
- Daily – 35.4%
- Every time I return to my home – 14.4%
The Waveform survey was designed to understand the experience people are having with their internet connectivity while working from home. On March 30th, the company commissioned the online survey by SurveyMonkey to ask 1,065 American adults.
SurveyMonkey used a nationally representative sample of gender and age-normalized panel to represent the wider American population.
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