Why you should delay your Zoom calls until quarter past the hour

Olivia Rudgard
Boris Johnson participating in a video conference call with other G20 leaders in the study of 10 Downing Street in central London on March 26, 2020.  - ANDREW PARSONS /AFP

As coronavirus lockdowns sweep the world, millions of people have been forced to switch to remote working and video call meetings.

And companies are worrying about the pressure this is putting on the internet to the extent that one of them has asked users to consider scheduling meetings for quarter past or quarter to the hour in order to avoid peak times.

Webex, part of Silicon Valley giant Cisco, said the move to remote working is putting "tremendous strain" on internet speeds, leading to poor video and audio quality.

"You can get a faster join experience by joining 5 minutes early or even better yet - schedule meetings on the 15th or 45th minute of the hour," the company said.

The rise in remote working is also visible in statistics showing the growing use of VPNs, or virtual private networks, used by companies to allow their employees to securely access their systems when not in the office.

Last week VPN provider NordVPN Teams said there had been a 165pc rise in use of its technology since March 11.

Video call providers have been one of the few winners from the coronavirus crisis, with Silicon Valley company Zoom in particular seeing a huge uptick in usage

The software has been downloaded millions of times, peaking at 2.13m downloads last Monday. In January it averaged just 56,000 downloads a day. 

Created by a former Cisco employee, the software has become the go-to not just for meetings but for concerts, parties, catch-ups and even dates.