Research commissioned by Ciena has found that 85% of UAE adults are now working from home at least some of the time, up from 2% before COVID-19 lockdown measures took effect. This 3530% increase is not just a temporary change, as 79% expect to work remotely more often even after lockdown restrictions ease. Of these people, over three in five (63%) 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% of UAE adults are doing more video calls to connect with colleagues and loved ones, 78% are using social media more often, and 74% 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 research also revealed that three quarters (75%) 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%), upgrading your broadband package (25%), purchasing a wireless/WiFi extension or booster kit (24%), and using a wired connection (23%), demonstrating that UAE workers are willing to spend money to get faster, more reliable connectivity at home.
Jamie Jefferies, General Manager and Vice President, EMEA at Ciena, says: “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.”
The transition to working remotely has been mixed, with the research revealing that that two in five (39%) of workers find it difficult. This figure was lower for private-sector workers (37%) compared to public-sector workers (48%). 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.
Jamie continues: “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.”
The research, which surveyed 500 UAE adults on their internet habits and usage before and during lockdown, was conducted by Opinium in May 2020.