When the coronavirus pandemic began, many white-collar companies sent their employees home for what they assumed would be a two-week shutdown. Now, several months later, an estimated 42% of the U.S. workforce is still working from home, with no clear indication of when they will be able to return to the office full time.

A man uses his smartphone on the balcony of his apartment

For multifamily property owners, the transition to working from home has brought about a new set of challenges. Tenants need more bandwidth to stay connected to their co-workers during the day and stream movies with their families at night. Add to that the fact that children are about to engage in distance learning, and it’s clear demands are set to spike.

All of this is causing owners to re-examine their buildings’ internet offerings and invest in smart technologies and devices that are connected to the Internet of Things. The goal is to meet evolving tenant demands while giving residents greater control over the technology in their homes.

“Instant self-service speed upgrades were once considered a luxury, now they have become a requirement,” said Tony St. Pierre, senior manager, connected communities marketing at CenturyLink.

St. Pierre said that providing a secure, stable WiFi connection must be at the forefront of solving connectivity challenges. Over the last few months, the CenturyLink team has worked with its multifamily clients to help them give their residents the technology they need to be successful in this new environment.

“Our CenturyLink ON product allows for instant access to our fiber internet service with just a couple of entries online, no installation, waiting or hassle,” St. Pierre said.

St. Pierre added that CenturyLink ON’s self-service features also allow users to instantly upgrade their internet speed online, a necessity as people rely more heavily on their home internet connection for their work needs.

“We’re starting to hear a lot more chatter about touchless entry, energy management, coworking common space areas, package delivery — these are all becoming more commonplace,” St. Pierre said. “Investing in these amenities now will boost an owner’s value proposition to one that’s not only relatable today, but for the long-term.”

A resident swipes their security badge to enter the building

St. Pierre recognized that fiber might not be an option for all properties. In these cases, he recommends owners consider CenturyLink’s fiber-backed technology solutions such as G.fast that can help properties upgrade their existing connections.

“While the need for a strong, fast internet connection has certainly grown in the last few months, it has been considered a necessity for years,” St. Pierre said. “This is why CenturyLink was developing technology to meet these ever-changing demands long before the pandemic hit.”

CenturyLink recently rolled out its Remote Connect service, which is designed to help remote workers share sensitive information over a private connection. The goal is to give businesses a simple, secure way to remain adaptable in this constantly changing environment. Tools like Remote Connect will continue to be important in the coming months since work from home is not going away any time soon.

CenturyLink conducted a survey of its business clients, which found that 72% of company representatives expect to continue their work-from-home strategy for another three to 12 months or longer. Additionally, 73% of those surveyed said they would consider adopting a technology that would allow their employees to work from home long-term.

As burdens on multifamily networks increase, security is a growing concern — the more portals, the less secure the network. St. Pierre said that CenturyLink has made security a priority from the beginning.

The company’s fiber network is one of the largest in the country, with approximately 450,000 global route miles of fiber.

“We have a large portfolio of consumer customers stretched across 37 states,” St. Pierre said. “During these times of increased usage, this combination of a massive fiber network and advanced, built-in security has really proven itself. We know that we are capable of delivering the level of connection customers need for years to come.”

This article was originally posted on https://www.bisnow.com/blogs/centurylink on August 17, 2020, and was produced in collaboration between the Bisnow Branded Content Studio and CenturyLink.