You are working from home now and may be for quite a while. Your wife is doing the same, as she has for years. Your two children are doing remote learning as school will not reopen in September. Your shaky home WiFi works like crap and you are on zoom calls constantly. Besides a nervous breakdown, what can you do? Maybe returning to your office is your best bet!
According to real estate company JLL’s recent, “Back to school, and work?” research report, up to 25 million office-based employees may have to decide between returning to their physical office or staying home to look after their children or help them with their home schooling. The report also noted that 34 million employees in the U.S. care for at least one child under the age of 14.
Connectivity is now critical at home, work and school
One fact remains clear among all of the uncertainty surrounding school districts as they try to figure out the right steps to take to ensure student and faculty safety—reliable wireless coverage is more critical than ever in the education system. It’s imperative that in-building wireless is reliable because two of the three options schools are taking in the fall will use videoconferencing as the main communication tool—100 percent virtual learning and hybrid schooling.
The need for reliable connectivity with 100 percent virtual learning is obvious. The signal cannot go out when a teacher is doing a live lesson for their students who are watching and taking notes from home. It will be important that the child’s Internet is working well too, but the onus is really on the teacher and school’s campus to ensure the student will have an uninterrupted lesson.
The same is true for hybrid schooling, which appears to be the most common method to be applied this fall, according to JLL’s report. This method combines some in-person education with some remote or online instruction. Hybrid schooling will help accommodate students, as well as teachers, who can’t return to school for personal or health reasons.
Regardless of why a student or their parent opts for them to learn from home, it’s important that they get the same access and educational experience as their classmates who are physically in the room. That won’t happen without a strong wireless network to get the teacher’s instruction out to their remote learning students.
CRE owners need to help parents communicate with their at-home students
Commercial real estate owners will have to stay on top of their building’s wireless network, too. A lot of companies are letting employees work remotely to help their children with virtual learning, but it’s not a universal policy. Businesses are returning to work—including employees with older children learning from home. There are numerous reasons why an employee will need strong connectivity in this instance. If the school district allows it, the parent may want to view what’s going on with their child’s lesson. Or they may simply want to video chat with their child during the day. School aside, tenants need to have a reliable wireless connection to get their own work done. It’s CRE owners’ best bet to act as if all of their tenants are eventually coming back to the building and supply the connectivity accordingly.