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How tech can empower your employees to work in the ways they like best

How tech can empower your employees to work in the ways they like best
 
 

Author

Ian Hoddle

Ian Hoddle

Director of Enterprise

Virgin Media O2 Business

Blog

4 minutes

13th March 2024

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2023 marked the great office return, with our latest Movers Index showing over half (52%) of UK workers expressing a preference for working in the office and four in ten companies reverting back to the traditional five-day office week.

 

Despite this, 89% of organisations have at least some remote or hybrid workers.

 

The challenge is for business leaders to recognise the varied demands of their workers and to provide them with the tools and infrastructure they need to empower them no matter where they work.

 

With the flexible work debate intensifying as more and more employers attempt to bring about at least a partial return to the office, how can you ensure you’re investing in the right resources for your employees?

Striking a happy medium for hybrid work

Our Movers Index also revealed that 92% of companies enforced some form of mandatory in-office policy in 2023, marking a departure from the peak of remote work.

 

Employees themselves are recognising the benefits of transitioning away from full-time remote work, with 55% reporting a boost in mental health attributed to the in-office work environment.

 

Despite the acknowledged frustrations of noisy coworkers (34%), office politics (36%) and unnecessary meetings (32%) – which top the list of workplace annoyances – workers place high value on office connections.

workplace annoyances stat

58% of workers revealed that stronger connections with colleagues were a driving force behind their decision to work in the office. And 55% reported a boost in mental health attributed to the in-office work environment.

58% stat
55% stat

As the cost of living continues to bite, however, there is also an economic burden to commuting, with the average annual commute for a five-day office week costing over £7,500.

 

Transport disruptions can add further complexity to the mix.

 

55% of public transport commuters experienced delays of over an hour last year, and more than one-in-five (21%) of these missed important meetings or appointments due to severe delays.

 

These frustrations can damage employee wellbeing and productivity and make the office seem a less desirable destination.

 

As companies weigh the pros and cons of remote and in-office policies, it’s clear that employees want flexibility and autonomy in choosing their work setup.

Facilitating unified collaboration from anywhere

Hybrid work, at its best, can enhance both productivity and wellbeing among employees. Achieving this necessitates investing in tools to facilitate smooth communication within and beyond the office environment.

 

85% of employees prioritise collaboration tools as a critical investment, according to Microsoft. These products and services help employees remain connected where they are at the office, working remotely, or on the move.

 

High-quality tech – from HD webcams to top-notch quality microphones and speakers – can only deliver its full potential if the underlying connectivity infrastructure offers smooth performance without lag or latency issues.

 

As employees increasingly rely on cloud-based file sharing and expect real-time synchronisation, robust connectivity only becomes more important. Collaborating with a partner capable of scaling your infrastructure alongside business growth is crucial.

 

Yet our 2023 survey of UK organisations found that rising costs was the biggest internal and external challenge for businesses, even when they wanted to continue to prioritise investment in technology.

 

One approach to achieve this is through Device as a Service (DaaS), where you can rent the latest devices for your employees on a rolling contract, avoiding the substantial upfront cost. This means your device portfolio can grow alongside you on a budget you can manage – which is likely why the financing method is only growing in popularity.

 

Endpoint management can also help simplify device portfolio management. It helps you manage tasks on any device from a single dashboard, making it simpler and easier to stay secure and compliant.

Involving employees in your digital transformation

70% of employees say they feel more positive about technological changes when they are consulted about the process, according to CIPD. So it's imperative not to explore new innovations without bringing your employees along with you.

 

With 78% of workers seeking advanced connectivity solutions from prospective employers, the right tech investments will support both current and future staff retention.

 

This could entail conducting regular surveys and check-ins to understand employees’ usage and sentiments regarding digital tools or using a trusted partner to robustly onboard staff onto new platforms.

 

Often, you’ll need to lean on your connectivity provider to ensure this implementation is robust enough to quickly get your employees up to speed. You’ll also need to ensure your connectivity infrastructure is able to scale with you as you grow in the future, instead of being a short-term solution.

 

As a trusted digital partner, we collaborate with customers to understand their digital transformation and connectivity goals, whether that involves adopting new tools or undertaking a full-scale infrastructure upgrade.

 

It’s not just about the short-term, it’s about staying flexible to meet whatever the future holds.

 

The great office return has proven that it can be hard to predict the future of work. But what you can do is make informed decisions, coupled with a reliable partner, to be ready to navigate the twists and turns ahead confidently.

Want more hybrid working advice?

 

Read our full guide here.

 

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