Working from home used to be a luxury. Those stuck in traffic jams or packed onto crowded trains would look at ‘home workers’ as the lucky few. But then the pandemic changed everything. Suddenly professionals had no option but to work from home. Consequently, the speed and quality of home office broadband became all-important.

But how fast does your home broadband need to be to support remote working? It all depends on how your business operates and the level of flexibility you need.

Entry level

If all you need is the ability to read emails then your existing broadband package, even if it’s only 1–3 Mbps, will probably do. This is enough to log into your webmail, download simple attachments, upload small attachments, and generally stay in touch with colleagues. This basic broadband should also be enough for VoIP telephony too.

However, more and more businesses are moving to integrated cloud-based platforms and using communication and project management software like Slack and Asana. What if your employer or your clients want to do the same?

Although you’ll able to chat online and send / receive messages on these platforms with bog standard broadband, video conferencing could be a problem. Zoom, for example, has a recommended upload and download speed of 1.8 Mbps — although this jumps to 3 Mbps and 2.5 Mbps for group calls with multiple participants.

Consequently, if your home office broadband gives you download speeds of just 3 Mbps then you won’t have much in reserve. What’s more, picture quality depends entirely on the speed of your package. Endless buffering from a slow connection is the fastest way to test everyone’s patience.

Reach for the clouds

Whilst you don’t need superfast speeds to use basic cloud-based communications, your needs will change if you’re using multiple applications. You’ll also need more bandwidth if more than one person is using the Internet — an important consideration if the kids are streaming TV shows or your partner is working remotely at the same time.

Remember that your home office broadband must be enough for everyone. So if you’re relying on speeds of around 5 Mbps, then the quality of your connection could suffer. Imagine telling the kids that they can’t stream Netflix because you’ve got a conference call to do!

Therefore, if you use cloud-based applications and live in a busy household, then it’s worth upgrading to fibre broadband. This would improve every aspect of your user experience. If your family visits webpages with uncompressed images and video content, or browses social media channels with autoplay enabled, then you’ll notice a big jump in performance right away.

Finally there’s a big difference between ‘working from home’ and working with maximum productivity. If your home office broadband is slower than 10 Mbps, for example, then it can take 4 seconds to download a high-resolution image and over 44 seconds to upload one. This delay can really slow you down.

If your home office broadband is a rapid 100 Mbps, on the other hand, then you’ll cut these waiting times proportionately. This can make a huge difference to your working day when you’re sharing and receiving files on cloud-based applications.

Future proof yourself

Although the aftershocks of Covid19 won’t be around forever, it’s highly likely that remote working will be. Business leaders have realised that remote working actually increases productivity; therefore it’s unlikely to be business as usual when the pandemic ends. Your home office will still be somewhere you spend a lot of time.

What’s more, online communication and project management tools will inevitably become more advanced and ubiquitous as time goes on. There will also be increased automation as AI (artificial intelligence) plays a bigger role in our lives. All these technologies will require extra bandwidth.

As a result, it’s smart to get ahead of the curve by investing in home office broadband that improves your productivity now whilst setting you up for the future. Then you’ll be ready to adopt business-improving applications as they become available. This is a great way to secure a competitive advantage.

Do the maths

As the lines between ‘work offices’ and ‘home offices’ become increasingly blurred, it’s vital to find a broadband service that meets the needs of everyone in your household — whether that’s other remote workers, people enjoying leisure time, or students doing their homework. It’s vital, therefore, for you to do your homework too.

If video calls require 3 Mbps, uploading files needs 5 Mbps, online gaming necessitates 4 Mbps, and streaming Netflix in 4K takes 20 Mbps, then you’ll soon realise that standard broadband of around 10Mbps simply isn’t enough — not unless you can ration who uses the Internet and when.

That’s why we’ve come up with a home office broadband package that’s perfect for hard-working employees, aspirational small business owners, plus those with Internet hungry kids. It’s our new Everyday Superfast broadband, which gives you up to 550 Mbps — more than enough bandwidth for everyone.

This problem-solving home office broadband solution is much faster than the regular fibre offered by the biggest brands. This is because these packages offer full fibre to your street cabinet but are slowed down by regular copper wires from there. So speeds are restricted to around 70 Mbps.

Everyday Superfast, on the other hand, reaches speeds almost eight times as fast. This keeps you happy, the kids happy, and most importantly of all, your boss and your clients happy.