Essential Infrastructure for the Modern Worker
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has transformed several aspects of the American workplace, and many employees have shifted to working remotely. But long before the pandemic hit, internet use was growing for work. For example, a 2013 Pew Research survey showed 94% of jobholders relied on the internet for their jobs. Additionally, back in 2019, pre-pandemic data showed 87% of CEOs believed providing their employees with the digital resources they need can have a substantial impact on revenue.
University of Southern California professor Dr. Hernán Galperin, an internationally recognized expert on internet policy and digital inequality, says, “broadband access is like access to running water or electricity. It is essential infrastructure, the lack of which is a barrier to economic competitiveness.”
The vast majority of adults (90%) say the internet has been essential to them during the pandemic. Some of the benefits of having internet access at work include:
Access to information: Employees can gain access to an enormous amount of information that can be used to make their job successful. This includes gathering research and data, finding insight to solve problems, and increasing productivity.
Connection cultivates collaboration: Internet access allows the flexibility to work together regardless of whether the employees are in the office, conference room, workspace, out in the field, or their own homes. Connecting via video chat, emails, shared files and drives helps increase creativity and collaboration.
Efficiency and competitiveness: As employees leverage the internet and find new ways to interact and conduct business, it enhances the ability to work seamlessly, streamline processes, improve efficiency, and stay competitive no matter where in the world workers are located. The internet allows employers to hire the best team members and have employees work together without requiring them to be in the same room or even in the same time zone.
Advanced education: E-learning, video tutorials, and distance learning provides staff training, professional development, and online classes that educate employees at all levels. Using the internet helps save on expenses of travel to training centers, conferences, or colleges. Additionally, because employees don’t have to worry about getting to and from these educational centers, workers spend less time away from the job.
Impact on management and leadership: Utilizing Zoom, Google chat, Skype, or other chat software not only allows teams to gather and collaborate but also to meet with management and present to stakeholders. Managers can also have contact and important one-on-ones with employees, even if they are in remote or international locations.
Growth and innovation: As internet technology and artificial intelligence tools advance, businesses can leverage these tools to increase creativity, shape ideas, and move their business to the forefront in their industry.
Adds value for customers: Online stores, chatbots, messaging, and other tools help meet customers’ needs and allow for 24/7 accessibility via the internet. Businesses can increase customer satisfaction when employees can be available at any time online.