Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere these days. Even a few years before, work life chiefly revolved around the office, the hub of all activity. The modern employees, however, are no longer based in a fixed location and are working across multiple places utilizing personal devices. Keeping the savvy workers in mind, offering a commendable Wi-Fi connection should seem like a no-brainer for businesses. However, several businesses around the world are not allowing the employees wireless connectivity in the office even today. Several of them are making it difficult as well as frustrating to work. It is quite disturbing to observe that so many SMEs lag behind during a phase when technological innovations are making life easier for all. Why Wi-Fi Matters for Businesses? Wherever people go, they have a penchant to go online. Thus, it has become quite commonplace for Wi-Fi to remain accessible always, regardless of whether it is hotels, train stations or coffee shops. Struggle for online connectivity in the workplace leads to a negative impact on the employees. With the productivity level crashing, a significant section of employees is reported to miss deadlines owing to poor connectivity. Moreover, the lack of Wi-Fi is also casting an impact on the perception of the business. A significant section of employees believe that connectivity at home is far better than connectivity at the office. Barrier for BYOD Businesses sacrificing Wi-Fi are causing an issue for the staffs who are eager to adopt the BYOD or Bring Your Own Device Policy. A research has found out that as much as 70% employees who own a tablet or a smartphone prefer to make use of it for accessing corporate data. Thus, it is clear that employees of today prefer using their personal devices for work purposes. Though a significant section of employees are eager to use their own device, they are not getting an opportunity to do so. The reason: lack of proper connectivity. This is certainly creating a barrier. Businesses that do not offer Wi-Fi connectivity are missing out on the advantages pertaining to a satisfied workforce and increased productivity. Will providing business Wi-Fi make a difference in customer and employee satisfaction, team productivity, and company profitability? Here are a few ways by which investing in business Wi-Fi can give your company an edge in this competitive landscape. #1. Team Productivity With growing reliance on the web for business, bandwidth usage has also increased enough to bog down connectivity. Lags in internet connectivity of company mean lost time waiting for the pages to load and lots of frustration. Fast business Wi-Fi reduces the downtime, thereby increasing employee productivity. For the web-based companies like virtual consulting or online stores, having fastest Wi-Fi available has acquired value. Losing connectivity directly leads to losing dollars. #2. Employee Satisfaction If you offer your employees Wi-Fi access, your team members need not remain tethered to the desk. Instead, they can work from anywhere in office from mobile devices or laptops. Though this flexibility may sound somewhat inconsequential, companies like Google and Facebook use this ‘work anywhere’ concept, creating a paramount shift in the corporate culture; this has led to the creation of happier employees. Don’t you think something as simple as adding business Wi-Fi is really worthwhile if it aids building a more satisfied and a productive team? #3. Cloud Technology Cloud-based tools allow the employees to access the inventory or documents in real time across several devices. You can use cloud-based storage to manage data without complicated network setup and even the retailers and manufacturers can manage the inventory from cloud. This is to be done through wireless scanners, paired with the cloud-based inventory management tools. However, to take advantage of these technologies, you need a fast wireless internet connection that can keep up with the need of these applications. #4. Customer Satisfaction Reliable and free Wi-Fi ensures happy customers. At cafes and restaurants, customers are much more likely to linger if free Wi-Fi is offered. This often leads to purchasing more food as well as beverages. For businesses like legal practices, medical offices, or mechanic shops, where the customers need to wait for long for appointments or for a service to take place, free Wi-Fi helps a lot in passing the time faster. In fact, the businesses that offer Wi-Fi access regularly benefit of higher rates of customer satisfaction even if the queues are longer than that of their competitors who don’t offer such a service. In the hospitality industry, free Wi-Fi accessibility has become so expected that the customers consider the lack of it a deal breaker when it comes to booking lodging. #5. Security Your company can easily set up two different points of access. The secure and private one is for the employees and the other for the customers and the guests. The private network allows the employees to share significant documents without compromising on security. This setup will ensure an availability of Wi-Fi service to guests while keeping important business data safe and secure. Before you install a wireless network, make sure to have the security plan in place. Though there are several Wi-Fi business advantages, an unsecured network is actually an open door to confidential business information. Securing the network is easy. Original security standard for Wi-Fi network is WEP or Wired Equivalent Privacy. It offered three different barriers to intrusion. Needs users to know network identity also known as SSID or Service Set Identifier. Requires users to come with a password or a static key for encryption. Limits access to just the specific network devices. However, several methods have also been discovered that allows the intruders to bypass the security barriers with ease. WEP is an effective deterrent to the casual intruders and is adequate for the small office/home office (SOHO) networks. However, it might not be able to protect the larger networks properly. WPA or Wi-Fi Protected Access is a comparatively robust security model. Designed to address the security flaws in WEP, it is an effective deterrent even to the dedicated intruders. Most Wi-Fi equipment also support WPA, though both client computers, as well as wireless access points, may need software upgrades for enabling WPA. Security needs to be in place in computers accessing wireless network, regardless of whether it is office or a remote hotspot. Investing in business Wi-Fi pays off quite fast, increasing the company’s agility, productivity, and profits while bringing down cost. So how can the employees and customers benefit from free Wi-Fi access? Just give your company a competitive edge, taking full advantage of the things that Wi-Fi offers. Images: ”Portrait of business people sitting on armchairs with laptop computers and a phone/ Shutterstock.com“ ___________________________________________________________________________ This contributor’s Tweak Your Biz articles have reached more than 100,000 people. Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.