Technology tools can help businesses save time, resources, and money. At the same time, if you don’t keep up with standards, Australian business productivity will keep falling behind. Probably the clearest example of this is internet speed.
If your business is struggling with slow internet, it’s likely impacting your operations, staff productivity, and other areas. Here’s a fresh look at how slow internet can be detrimental and how reliable, fast internet can drive productivity gains.
The impact of slow internet
Global data consumption leaped by more than 400% in the four years to 2015. Standard internet speeds that might have been sufficient just a few years ago are now likely barely enough for your business to keep up with competitors.
Tools like cloud-computing solutions, video conferencing, content-sharing platforms, and ERPs are bandwidth intensive. They require fast internet to leverage their real-time and collaborative features. In addition, it’s now common for staff to make use of multiple devices like tablets and smartphones, as well as desktops and laptops. These increase the demand for your business’ Wi-Fi network and your internet traffic.
Slow internet can impact businesses in other ways since business operations – from elements like customer relationship management (CRM) and project management to office suites and accounting systems – rely on the internet and your network.
For example, with a sluggish network impacting your CRM platform, your customer-facing staff won’t be able to respond as quickly or effectively. On a call, they might be waiting to get customer information on the screen, to understand the customer’s history, and to log and resolve their problem on the system.
How it impacts Australian businesses?
Generally services-based companies – like those in the insurance, advertising, creative, and law industries – will be strongly impacted by slow internet. If you conduct business at multiple locations, your staff likely rely on collaboration and other internet-based platforms to be effective. And any business relying on the internet for a majority of their daily operations will obviously be heavily impacted by slow internet.
IT firms and website development companies also rely heavily on the internet. They usually need to access data quickly, share information rapidly, and work on cloud-based applications to collaborate or achieve tight deadlines. Advertising, graphic design, and architecture firms need to share massive amounts of data as they use data-intensive graphics platforms like Photoshop and InDesign.
Likewise, retail companies rely on high-speed internet to process payments, while banks have to receive and process countless transactions each day. If you host your own eCommerce website, the speed of your internet service impacts your customer’s shopping experience.
What’s slow and fast?
So just what is considered high speed for the internet? While speeds can vary depending on a range of factors, on an unlimited, top-tier nbn™ plan, you could expect 100Mbps with an evening (peak period) speed of 90Mbps on average. Older technologies based on traditional copper wiring like ADSL2+ might offer a maximum speed of just 24Mbps under the best scenario.
Australian business productivity and internet speeds
Good internet speeds don’t just minimise workflow slowdowns and interruptions. A fast internet connection can be positive for employee morale, which in turn could support higher productivity.
Workflow slowdowns and interruptions
Slow internet can mean workflow slowdowns and interruptions. Without allowing for extra data demand, businesses can find their employees are less productive. Team members using a slow network are less time efficient.
They can’t collaborate as effectively if they’re waiting for messages to arrive, files to download, and applications to open. An average employee could lose as much as a week a year waiting for a slow network. If you have 20 employees, that’s 20 weeks of work time lost thanks to a slow internet connection.
Slow networks can also take a toll on employee morale. When team members can’t do their jobs effectively because of slowdowns and interruptions, they might become demotivated.
Slow internet could be one of the top employee frustrations when it comes to at-work technologies. If your teams are slowed down by patchy, slow internet, morale could be one of the first things to be impacted. In turn, this could negatively affect productivity.
High-speed internet will improve productivity
Fast internet can expand the horizon and remove unnecessary constraints for your business. Outcomes can include enhanced collaboration, full leveraging of data-hungry applications, and improved customer service and satisfaction.
It’s likely your business relies on cloud-based applications and tools like VoIP, both of which need fast internet to be effective. With high-speed internet, your time is able to utilise these applications effectively, whether it’s for marketing, human resources, project management, or an industry-specific function.
Internet speed probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about productivity. However, businesses of today depend on a wide variety of data-intensive applications and platforms.
Luke Fitzpatrick is an academic speaker at Sydney University via Glecture. He enjoys writing about tech, productivity, lifestyle, and is a contributor to Forbes.