By Dennis Jones
Let’s face it; we all expect to be connected, wherever we are, whether in the air, in the car, on the train – everywhere. Traditionally, the story went that the farther we fan out from hubs of good connectivity, like the home and work, the more accepting we would be of (inevitable) connectivity challenges. But it turns out that’s not actually the case. The office isn’t the connectivity nirvana we once thought it was, according to new data that reveals how pervasive cellular connectivity issues are in the American workplace.
Recently released, Cellular in the Workplace Survey, 2017 looks at 1,000 business users in the U.S., tracking the frequency in which they experience indoor cellular connectivity issues and challenges at work. The report also measures the impact on stress, productivity and company reputation that results from poor connectivity. The stakes are pretty clear. Even with the growth of remote working, workers in the U.S. are heavily clustered in traditional workspaces for most of their working day. These workers rely on connectivity to perform essential work tasks. That they can’t successfully connect at all times is problematic, to say the least. And that’s precisely what’s happening.
Workers are having real issues with in-building cellular coverage. In fact, 74 percent of workers surveyed complained that they had problems with poor coverage, either frequently or sometimes. Only a quarter of respondents replied that they never had a bad experience with cellular coverage.
These topline numbers mask a sharp generational divide. Unsurprisingly, younger cohorts, having grown up with near-ubiquitous connectivity, are more likely to complain of frequent problems with coverage. Eighty percent of millennials cite having bad experiences with cellular coverage. And that cohort is 68 percent more likely to complain of frequent problems with cellular coverage than older generations.
While relatively poor across industry, indoor cellular performance seems to be particularly bad in healthcare, warehouse and retail locations. And taking warehouse workers as just one sample, poor connectivity leads to lost productivity and more stress.
Interestingly, employees, especially millennials, are shifting blame for poor in-building cellular connectivity away from carriers and towards building owners and managers, which are often employers. Millennials are the most likely to blame their employers for cellular connectivity issues. That’s a worrying statistic for employers, as millennials and even younger cohorts flood in to the workplace.