The Age of Smartphones And Faster Internet Boosts Lankan Remote Workers


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Let’s face it. With advancements in technology and the cloud, more and more of us are working outside our primary workplaces. We work from home, in the bus, or pretty much anywhere that has decent internet access and a power source. In addition, remote working tools have also developed the way we communicate with our hardware.


Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace conducted yet another survey (the previous one being how working from home affects productivity) to find that almost 86% of workers have used at least one remote desktop tool within the past month. Accordingly, Regus Sri Lanka, the local arm of Regus also revealed further information on the increasing mobile phone and Internet subscribers in Sri Lanka and how it has affected remote workers.

As mentioned above, cloud and related technologies have seen a steady increase in usage. Just to toss a few numbers, Dropbox Google Drive and TeamViewer are used across the globe with usage stats of around 56%, 43% and 25% respectively.

That’s not all though. IM (Instant Messaging) and VoIP apps have changed the way people communicate and enable access to those even in the most remote of locations. It’s fast and effective. Employees are now more available, connected and immediately responsive. Skype was by far the most popular VoIP application with a usage of 60% of respondents in the previous month, followed by Messenger by Facebook with 48% and Viber with 13%.

Here’s where things get even more interesting. According to the “Key Social Indicators” of the 2014 Annual Report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, there 120 mobile phones for every 100 persons in Sri Lanka whereas Internet penetration is 16.4 for every 100 persons, quite an increase indeed. The sale and usage of mobile phones and smartphones has been steadily increasing over the past few years. This also means that people are looking for more way to stay in touch with each other. As such, apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Skype are becoming stalwart in most smartphones offered due to their user-friendliness and flexibility in sharing information via group chats, sharing of photos, videos and other files.

The research also found out that the level of IT penetration is far greater in the urban and suburban area as obviously, this is where a majority of the workers operate from. Cost-effective internet access either via 4G/LTE or Wi-Fi is provided by multiple telecom operators, thus enabling remote employees speedy, reliable and secure access to office tools that are hosted in the cloud.

Other key findings reveal the reach and influence of online tools in the work environment:

  • WhatsApp is currently by far the most popular Instant Messaging app for smartphones, used by 54% of workers once a month or more;
  • Just 10% of those questioned said they had not used an Instant Messaging tool in the past month;
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop is the most remote desktop globally (19%);
  • 11% of respondents had used WeChat in the previous month.

In conclusion, what all these facts and figures tells us is that today, thanks to technology, an employee is not limited to working from an office cubicle. They can save time and money by working closer to home, thus increasing productivity and opting for a better work-life balance.



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