Allan McEwan, city manager, CityFibre

Allan McEwan, city manager, CityFibre

Over these past weeks, many of us will have adopted new ways of doing everyday activities, such as attending meetings, completing coursework, joining exercise classes and catching up with friends and family.

This ‘new normal’ demonstrates exactly what we already suspected – digital technology has transformed our lives. And now, in these unprecedented times, we are utterly dependent on its ability to support our day to day lives.

The way we work in particular has been changing for a while now. Analysis from Aviva estimates that more than four million UK employees already work from home on a regular basis. Those who have just joined the homeworking community will now be realising a host of benefits, from spending less time and money on travel to enjoying a better work-life balance, not to mention the environmental benefits. According to the TUC, the average commuter spends 58 minutes a day getting to and from work. Think of what you could do with that time - take the kids to school, go to the gym, take up a hobby, or even just spend more time relaxing with loved ones.

For businesses, it can also drive higher staff retention rates, encouraging loyalty from those seeking a better balance or increased flexibility. With increased homeworking, they might also have access to a wider talent pool, with homeworking making it possible for people who may not be able to travel as easily to enter the workforce, such as those with caring responsibilities.

What’s holding us back?

The benefits are clear. But our technology isn’t there yet. A good internet connection is not just a nice to have for homeworkers – it’s a necessity. Unfortunately, home broadband often isn’t fast or reliable enough to make permanent working from home anything more than a pipe dream for parts of the country.

CityFibre-backed research shows that 78 per cent of UK consumers felt slowed down and frustrated by their internet connection. But for homeworkers, that figure increased to 82 per cent. Indeed, almost all homeworkers (99%) agreed that a better connection would enable them to work from home more often, with a third saying that doing so would improve their work-life balance and improve stress.

Change is coming

Improved digital infrastructure offers the solution and thankfully, Aberdeen is on its way to becoming one of the best digitally connected places in the world as CityFibre rolls out its future proof full fibre network throughout the city. Unlike legacy copper networks which are still heavily relied on throughout the UK, full fibre is the fastest and most reliable option available, with an end to end fibre optic connection running directly into the property. And with these services becoming more readily available throughout the city, it’s something consumers should look out for when considering their next broadband package.

With telecommunications identified as Critical National Infrastructure, CityFibre is continuing to work on essential projects while following all guidance from the Scottish Government. It is investing up to £4bn in bringing full fibre within reach of up to 8 million homes across the UK by 2025. In Aberdeen, the project represents a private investment of at least £40m in new future proof digital infrastructure that will serve the needs of homes and businesses for decades to come.

This investment will help to unlock the workplace – and workforce – of the future. Soon, working effectively from home won’t just be something that only some can make the most of. Instead, it will be the reality for millions of us up and down the country.