Across the globe, a revolution is taking place inside modern workplaces, writes James Longworth, Workplace Technology Consultant at Insight UK.
From collaboration tools that support teamwork, right through to voice-activated assistants to increase productivity – technology advancements are giving employees capabilities they could only dream of a few years ago. However, businesses will only realise the true benefits these advancements can bring if employees are fully on board and utilising technology correctly.
Too often, enterprises implement new technology with rose-tinted glasses, hoping to make their business run faster and more efficiently, yet without spending the time to think about how their workforce will react. Technology creates change and if the process of change is not managed properly, new technology can result in doing the opposite of what was intended and have a negative effect on collaboration.
Out with the Old
When implementing new technology, businesses must take a human-first approach. Meaningful change starts with people, not technology. It’s important that employees have time to adapt to the change, know how it will help them within the workforce, what to expect from it, and how to use it. If they don’t, they’ll either refuse to adopt new systems, fail to tap into their true potential, or could potentially put the organisation at risk through misusing tech or not utilising it at all. Our recent research shows UK office workers waste 1.8 billion hours a year due to poor technology that doesn’t give them the support they need. More than a third (34 per cent) of employees also said that not being equipped with the right tools makes remote and flexible working difficult and stressful – despite its value in improving productivity and employee satisfaction.
What’s more, imposing new technology on employees without a clear change management process can have detrimental effect on adoption; Gartner claims that “change-stressed” employees perform five percent worse than average. Employees must be supported throughout the process, otherwise organisations risk increasingly frustrated staff, which can drive down productivity across the entire business.
Adoption Doesn’t Happen Overnight
According to Insight’s research, a significant 77 per cent of office workers claim they’ve been given technology such as laptops, mobile devices or business software without knowing either how it will benefit their role or how to use it. As a result, training must take place before any change so employees know what to expect, how it will improve their experience and how it will change existing tasks and process.
It’s also important that after the change, the organisation continues to gather any thoughts or feedback from their employees and address any concerns. This process should be strategic, where gradual change takes please to ensure the adoption process runs smoothly, both with the technology and employees. This is an on-going process, where results will not take place overnight.
An Ongoing Process
For the modern workplace to match employee expectations and provide the best possible experience, it must also represent the way consumer technology operates. Consumer devices and software are improved through frequent updates, which are easier for end-users to absorb and adopt.
Rather than “big bang” implementations where the user experience is completely disrupted, technology deployment needs to resemble this ongoing process. Incremental updates are far more effective, as they are less noticeable and easier to adapt to.
Encouraging the Next Generation
With nearly half (48 per cent) of employees saying the technology on offer would influence where they would work in future, it’s never been more critical for businesses to provide a seamless experience, and offer the ongoing support and training employees need to succeed in their job. Creating a truly modern workplace, where technology enhances employee productivity and the user experience, is not just good news for your current employees, it will encourage the best of the next generation to apply too.