Both employers and employees (opens in new tab) in the UK are confronting economic challenge. Faced with repercussions of the cultural upheaval of the last few years, coupled with the rising cost of living, doing more with less has never been more critical across all areas of life.
The impact of this has brought with it disruption to the day to day routines of the office (opens in new tab) worker. For many who are no longer commuting into an office five days a week, the modern worker joins a video (opens in new tab) call from their home, on the move or wherever their designated place of work is.
These novel habits call for novel hardware, devices that live up to all of the demands of modern work. Sleek and lightweight, yet powerful and with impressive functions to match, these work devices need to cater to the new normal. Features like portability, to accommodate travel in and out of the office, a high-resolution camera to facilitate clear video communication, noise cancelling headphones to enable a video call without office chit chat as the background audio and a cable and port hub to ensure connection and power at all times. Many features once deemed as ‘luxury’ or ‘high end’ on your device have now become a necessity; they facilitate collaboration (opens in new tab), productivity (opens in new tab) and employee engagement.
But, with 4 in 10 businesses reporting a rise in the price of goods and services bought, in addition to the rising price point of these devices, employers are faced with a decision; whether to enhance the productivity of employees and cater to their new needs post-pandemic with premium devices and accessories, or to cut costs and potentially hinder employee workplace experience. Our Microsoft Surface report, The re-imagined office: not a redesign but a redefine, shows lack of budget to invest in new office technology is one of the main challenges ITDMs believe their departments will face in 2023 (with 20% of those asked, agreeing).
Alan Slothower is Head of Surface Commercial at Microsoft UK.
Alongside this, office technology may be well overdue a refresh, with our findings showing that one in five employees say their office technology is outdated. Although teams continue to work in a hybrid (opens in new tab) way, collaboration tools are being de-prioritized due to budget concerns and a knowledge gap around their benefits – however this may only cause more setbacks for organizations longer term.
Many of the features listed above, like high resolution cameras (opens in new tab), noise cancelling headphones (opens in new tab) and multiple port hubs and travel adaptors are key in ensuring workers feel more connected and better prepared to do their job. Investment in these items can supplement the need for a box fresh device, upgrading the employee experience whilst balancing business funds.
Whilst this device enhancement option seems obvious, cutting costs while ensuring a sustainable approach of not making any unnecessary purchases that may contribute to device wastage, our research shows that just 14 per cent of businesses are using new or improved accessories. Our ways of working have changed irrevocably, but research suggests the office hardware itself has seen very little change. Organizations must consider the employee benefits from the right technology provision, in particular when a simple accessory addition, such as video call enabled headset or digital pen, is all that is needed to improve employee experience and improve satisfaction.
With 81 per cent of employees seeing their device as their personal office, the need for technology that keeps people connected wherever they may be situated has never been more important for employee satisfaction and productivity. The right accessories can also enhance accessibility and create more inclusive experiences and its vital organizations understand that one size doesn’t fit all – and that different needs will be met with different device accessories.
Not only has modern day ‘office etiquette’ become front of mind, but the pandemic has shifted the priorities of those due to their preferred working environments. Some will need high resolution webcams to constitute for their less preferable home workspace lighting, whereas employees in the office need to block out background noise from colleagues around them.
Organizations must consider the employee benefit and cost saving potential of investing in PC accessories for the modern worker. Not only will the right accessories help to ensure their workforce is set up for success, regardless of location, but they can also stave off the need for more costly technology investments at a time when ITDMs are feeling the pressure to do business for less.
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