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79 per cent of adults in the UAE will work remotely more often after Covid 19

New research commissioned by Ciena explores how the pandemic will change internet usage

79 per cent of adults in the UAE will work remotely more often after Covid 19

New research commissioned by Ciena has found that 85 per cent of UAE adults are now working from home at least some of the time, up from 2 per cent before Covid 19 lockdown measures took effect. This 3,530 per cent increase is not just a temporary change, as 79 per cent expect to work remotely more often even after lockdown restrictions ease. Of these people, over three in five (63 per cent) believe this will be all the time or much more frequently than before the pandemic.

The research also found that it’s not just remote working that is increasing demand on our home internet connections. During lockdown, 67 per cent of UAE adults are doing more video calls to connect with colleagues and loved ones, 78 per cent are using social media more often, and 74 per cent are watching more TV and movies online. While this is unsurprising given the restrictions on social activities put in place during lockdown, the increased use of internet-reliant entertainment is putting more demand on home broadband.

“The data overwhelmingly shows that the lines between our personal and professional lives are becoming increasingly blurred as we adapt to working from home more often. With more demand on our home broadband, we are looking to upgrade in every way we know how, all to make sure we have a good enough connection now and in the future. This presents a unique opportunity for network providers as connectivity priorities change,” said Jamie Jefferies, general manager and vice president for EMEA at Ciena.

The research also revealed that three quarters (75 per cent) have taken steps to improve their home internet since the lockdown came into effect. The most common changes are: purchasing a new wireless/WiFi router (30 per cent), upgrading your broadband package (25 per cent), purchasing a wireless/WiFi extension or booster kit (24 per cent), and using a wired connection (23 per cent), demonstrating that UAE workers are willing to spend money to get faster, more reliable connectivity at home.

The transition to working remotely has been mixed, with the research revealing that that two in five (39 per cent) of workers find it difficult. This figure was lower for private-sector workers (37 per cent) compared to public-sector workers (48 per cent). One reason that some may have found the transition challenging is the lack of access to the enterprise-grade internet connectivity found in their office.

“This shift also has a significant impact on businesses and network providers. Until now, high-speed broadband and bandwidth were primarily focused around urban areas, particularly in big cities like London, where there is a high density of businesses that require enterprise-grade connectivity. With more people working remotely, both short and longer-term, employers and network providers will need to change how they deliver connectivity to users,” Jefferies added. 

The research, which surveyed 500 UAE adults on their internet habits and usage before and during lockdown, was conducted by Opinium in May 2020.

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