The pandemic, recent rail strikes and a change in work culture have all helped support the trajectory of flexible working. Despite the ability for many to work from home, connectivity remains a barrier up and down the country.
In a recent survey, Three UK found that on average, SMEs are losing out on one hour of working time per employee per week due to poor connectivity – costing them £18.77bn a year.
The levelling-up agenda is ambitious – it unlocks value for the property sector and the economy.
The concentration on local economies will also support the revival of our high streets, but the key to success is diversifying what high streets offer, and we are seeing this happen with the opening of coworking and flexible spaces. These workspaces are bringing a new clientele to the high street, changing the workday demographics and increasing local spend in cafés and shops.
At technologywithin, the geography of where we are working has changed hugely over the last two years. We are working with operators across the UK that are looking to supercharge connectivity to support business, with new clients from Aberdeen to Plymouth and Cardi to Ipswich.
We expect this trend to continue in line with levelling-up policy developments. It is no coincidence that this unlocking is born of the pandemic; had the virus crisis struck even a decade ago, the success of technology and its ability to support business when we were locked down would not have been there.
We now need to aid connectivity to enhance technology and support productivity, thereby supporting the levelling-up agenda. From both a council and landlord perspective, wi and superfast internet need to be planned into this transformation. If we are serious about levelling up, we need to appreciate that superfast fibre internet is no longer a luxury but a utility for all and needs to be considered as such.
Jon Seal is managing director of software company technologywithin.