How Many GB Of Data Do You Need To Work From Home?

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: Nov 29, 2022

Remote workers often use video call services like Zoom, Face Time, or WhatsApp to stay connected with their clients and other team members via video chats.

Emails and instant messaging services are also a normal part of everyday life working from home, not to mention the use of online directories and search engines for research, along with Spotify or YouTube for background music while you work.

Whether it is video conferencing, use of streaming services, e-learning, email, or social media, the use of an internet connection is required. Therefore, to successfully work from home, a high quality internet plan and high-speed internet connection is an absolute must.

With the increase and dependence on mobile internet usage, one would wonder how much data is required to conveniently run an office space from home.

Internet services providers offer data and internet access with different packages to choose from.

However, it might not be easy to determine how many Gigabytes of data will be needed with the increase in daily internet usage by remote workers and professionals.

The quantity of data you require is determined by various factors, including the type of work you do, the number of hours you spend online, and the equipment you use. 

A professional software engineer or data analyst who handles a lot of data in their work might consume as much as 2 GB – 5 GB of data daily; video streaming and online gaming fanatics are more likely to consume an average of 1.6 – 2.5 GB of data daily for viewing standard quality videos.

While, freelance writers will consume between  500-1000 megabytes (0.5GB-1 GB) of data daily, considering they will only need Microsoft Office and a browser for research. 

The average daily in-home data usage for PC/Mac in the United States before the pandemic was 700 Mbs, but it spiked to 1 GB in 2020. The figures also went from 3.9 GB per day to 5.4 GB for Streaming Box/Stick [1]. 

With the advancement of technology providing tools like Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp, Facetime, Zoom, cloud computing apps & instant messaging apps, and email, you no longer always need an office space to conduct effective work.

Remote working or work from home jobs has been on the uprise since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Employees, professionals, sales staff, and even freelancers have adopted the “work from home” option, which allows them to carry out tasks, make sales and build project modules from their homes using the right technology.

These tasks could either be carried out on their mobile phones or personal computers; sometimes, a remote worker might use both simultaneously. 

But how do you know how much data you need?

How many GB of data is consumed in an average home?

How many GB of data does an average person use?

Does working from home require more data?

What is the right Internet bandwidth necessary to work from home?

How much GB of data do I need for high-quality video streaming services? 

Real quick: before we get too far along here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.

How much data do you need to work from home?

  • Is 30GB enough to work from home?
  • Is 20GB enough to work from home?
  • Is 50GB enough to work from home?

Some internet providers will put a data cap on the amount of data you use and will charge you overage charges which can get really expensive, so it’s vital that you have the right internet plan in place to begin with.

Below is a table that estimates the amount required on the number of users and tasks:

No. of Persons Tasks/ Activities Amount of data required /Month
1 Person
  • 500 hours of browsing
  • 32 hours of video conferencing
  • 20 hours of standard video streams
  • 64 hours of HD audio streaming
  • 5000 emails
10GB
1-2 Persons
  • 1000 hours of browsing
  • 80 hours of video conferencing e.g. Skype
  • 50 hours of standard quality video
  • 160 hours of audio streaming
  • 10000 emails
25 GB
3-4 Persons
  • 2500 hours of browsing
  • 300 hours of video conferencing
  • 100 hours of standard quality video streaming
  • 600 hours of audio streaming
  • 20000 emails
50 GB

 

4+ Persons
  • 5000 hours of browsing
  • 320 hours of video conferencing
  • 200 hours of standard quality video streaming
  • 40000 emails
100 GB

 *The bandwidth requirement can vary depending on other factors too.

The more data you have, the better. You need enough data to create a viable working environment.

Simply evaluate the factors we mentioned earlier and compare them to your work routine to determine how much data you’ll need for a certain period of time.

Does working from home use a lot of data?

Ultimately, everything that is done via the internet requires data – with video streaming, music streaming, and downloads of large files consuming the most.

However, for a remote worker, the amount of data needed varies and depends on the type of the job. For instance, a sales staff employee who implements video chats and internet calls to connect with clients might require about 500 MB – 2.5 GB of data per hour.

Basically, the amount of data that a remote worker will consume depends on the type of job and the amount of time spent on the internet.

What work tasks use the most data?

How You Can Start An Online Business With No Money: 9 Under-The-Radar Tips

It’s amazing to think about how fast your every-day responsibilities add up when it comes to using up your data plan.

So where are the areas of your work that are using the most data?

First off, nothing beats video streaming when it comes to eating up data. Video conferencing is huge a big data user. Think about all those face-to-face Zoom calls that you have to be a part of – if you’re video chatting with colleagues or clients, you’ll be using quite a bit of data.

What about that background music you’re playing on YouTube? Yep – another huge consumer of data. Same goes for Spotify. I love background music as much as anyone, and I’ve even got it running now while I work on this post. But it will eat up your data quickly.

Next is large package downloads. This is especially true if your designer or developer. The files you work with are large – sometimes several GB in size. Video files are an even bigger and moving those around will eat up your plan quickly.

Finally – and you may not have really even thought about this one – the webpages you visit. Each page you visit is saved on your computer in your browser cache. One page here another page there, isn’t a big deal. But if you’re like me you’re visiting numerous sites every single day and some of those sites are downloading pretty large files onto your computer.

What is the right internet bandwidth necessary to work from home?

Don’t you hate it when the video lags in an important board meeting? Or when it takes an eternity to just download a small email attachment?

With internet connection being an essential tool for any employee or freelancer working from home, the average internet transmission speed has to be considered and in optimal supply.

A remote worker has to determine the right amount of internet speed required to run a productive and effective home office.

A person will require an average of 10 Mb/s of download speed and 1 Mb/s of upload speed in order to work from home effectively. At that speed, multiple instances of internet connections can run simultaneously without interruptions.

Simply put, a faster internet speed will help you wrap up your work faster and more efficiently. 10 Mb/s is good, but 100 Mb/s is better!

What about mobile data? How many GB of data do I need for my mobile phone?

Telecommuting vs. Telework vs. Remote Work: What’s The Difference?

If you’re working remotely there may come a time where you don’t have a reliable WiFi service available and you need to tether off of your mobile phone in order to be able to do your job.

So how much cellular data do you need for your mobile plan?

For simple web browsing, and basic smart phone use 15gb per month should be sufficient.

If you’re stream video, doing video calls, or doing any kind of resource-intensive work via a tethered connection to your mobile phone, then you will need at the very least 50gb of data per month on your plan.

Keep in mind that if you’re just streaming standard definition video, that can use as much as 700MB per hour so it’s very easy to burn through a lot of data very quickly.

The good news is that virtually all carriers offer unlimited plans these days and they’re relatively affordable. However, there are usually data caps on the quality of service you get. Big carriers like Verizon will throttle your speeds once you hit a certain threshold depending on your plan, so choose your wireless service carefully and read the fine print of those promotions for “unlimited” data plans.

How many GB of data is consumed in an average home?

The average amount of data consumption by households has increased rapidly over the years – reaching an all-time high in 2022. Households are estimated to be consuming as much as 3.5 times more internet data than they were using five years ago[2].

Year Average Monthly Internet Data Usage
 2012 25 GB
2014 40 GB
2016  97 GB
2018 268 GB
2020 344 GB
2022 514 GB

Over the last ten years, internet usage has expanded exponentially – with an equal increase in internet bandwidth.

Internet service providers have improved their utility by introducing broadband and high-speed internet access to match the growing mass of users and high adoption of video streaming services requiring large data plans and high-speed internet transmission.

How many gb of data does an average person use?

What Is Hybrid Work And Why Do Employees Want It?

There’s obviously no doubt that the average individual consumes more internet data daily than ever before.

With video stream services like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime – just to mention a few – offering millions of high-quality video content accessible on various mobile platforms and devices, the average amount of data consumed by every person is constantly rising.

In 2020, the average person consumed about 4.5 GB of data on the internet on activities ranging from video streaming, music streaming, emails, video chats, and social media [3].

How many gb of data do I need for hd video streaming services?

According to studies by online video viewers survey in 2020, 27% of viewers watched as much as 10 hours of video content online.

Using video stream services like Youtube, Netflix, and Hulu for long periods requires a certain amount of bandwidth. Some internet service providers offer video stream data packages and unlimited data plans for this purpose.

The amount of data expended on a video stream usually depends on the service and the quality of video rendered by the platform. Low-quality videos typically consume about 300 Mb (0.3 GB) of data per hour, while video streaming at standard quality will consume up to 700 Mb (0.7 GB) of data per hour [4].

High-quality or HD video streams, on the other hand, require about 0.9 GB (for 720p), 1.5 GB (1080p), and 3 GB (for 2K) of data per hour, respectively, according to the video quality.

Next Steps

Want to join others who are creating the most amazing home offices and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office the best it can be?

Join my brand new free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best!

References:

  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1106863/covid-19-daily-in-home-data-usage-change-us-2020/
  2. https://www.allconnect.com/blog/average-household-internet-data-usage-has-jumped-38x-in-10-years
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/489169/canada-united-states-average-data-usage-user-per-month/
  4. https://www.androidcentral.com/how-much-data-does-streaming-media-use

Robert David Orr

Robert is a writer & creator, author of the WordPress Website Blueprint, award winning web developer, and leader in digital strategy. He's also a tenured work at home veteran who's been working from home for more than 10 years. Learn more. Got questions? Reach out and connect here - Contact Home Office Hacks here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *