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22 November 2022

New DE-CIX survey: German office workers lose one week of working time per year due to Internet delays

Regardless of whether they are working from home or in the office, German office workers lose an average of 46 minutes of working time per week due to slow Internet connections – in a year, that’s just under an entire working week.

Frankfurt am Main, 22 November 2022: German office workers are slowed down in their productivity at work by Internet delays, regardless of whether they work in the office, at home, or in a hybrid setting. This is the result of a recent online survey conducted by the Internet Exchange operator DE-CIX. The findings show that the hindrances caused by poor Internet connections add up to an average of 46 minutes a week, in total almost a complete working week annually (35 hours). Of all office workers surveyed, 85 percent said they lose work time due to delays in using the Internet for professional purposes. For 42 percent of respondents who experience delays, this loss amounts to more than half an hour per week. For 18 percent, it is more than one hour, and for a further eleven percent, this lost time even amounts to more than two hours per week. 

Frequency of delays

About two-thirds (63 percent) of office workers surveyed experience Internet delays at least once a month. More than a third (38 percent) of respondents are slowed down at work several times a week or even every day by Internet problems. Interestingly, this is exactly the same percentage as for private Internet use in Germany, which was determined in a previous DE-CIX survey. Among workers who do hybrid work or work from home full time, 35 percent experience delays either daily or several times a week. Among employees who work primarily in offices, the figure is 40 percent.

A geographical analysis shows that large cities are in fact slightly more frequently affected by delays than small or medium-sized cities. 35 percent of office workers who work in small towns are likely to say they are affected by Internet delays either daily or several times a week. This figure is 39 percent for employees in medium-sized cities, and 40 percent for those in large cities

Affected applications

Among respondents who experience delays, they occur most often with bandwidth-intensive applications such as video conferencing, at 39 percent. Downloads, which also require a lot of bandwidth, follow in second place, at 26 percent. In video conferencing, the latency (amount of delay) factor is also crucial: if it is too high, there are problems synchronizing data and files with other participants. According to the respondents, problems also occur very frequently with applications from the cloud and when sending emails, with 23 percent of respondents experiencing delays or hindrances in each case.

Presumed causes

The largest group of survey participants make the assumption that the cause of delays for work-related Internet usage lies on the infrastructure level. In first place, 37 percent assume that the network is overloaded. Poor network rollout in the respective region comes in in second position (27 percent). Following this come reasons within the direct area of influence of the employer: 21 percent of participants see poor network infrastructure within the company as the cause, and a further 16 percent blame it on poorly integrated company software. Other causes given include that the content provider’s servers are slow (20 percent), insufficient bandwidth from the Internet service provider or agreed in their contract, either at the place of work or at home (17 percent), and outdated devices (14 percent).

“Jerky video conferencing is something we probably all know and are annoyed by. But let’s think one step further into the future: ‘Immersive’ online experiences as envisioned in the ‘Metaverse’ concept, for example, will enter the business world in the future – and such applications depend on even lower latency. For example, a VR-based meeting in a virtual space will simply not function with a connection that is already reaching its limits in a video conference,” explains Ivo Ivanov, CEO and Chair of the Board at DE-CIX. “But there are also problems when it comes to topics that are already commonplace, such as the availability of SaaS offerings. Companies need to create better connectivity so their employees can continue to work productively – whether in the office, at home, or in a hybrid setting.”

“In this context, have a direct line to the cloud is becoming increasingly important. Delays are caused by detours; this is just as true on the Internet as it is in the physical world. If companies connect directly to one or more clouds, they can avoid detours through the public Internet. This not only speeds up data traffic, but also makes it more secure. The place where companies can connect directly to one or more cloud providers is a modern Cloud Exchange at, for example, an Internet Exchange,” Ivanov continues.