Enabling the anywhere office requires the right tech

By Chris Lorigan, Surface Portfolio Product Manager, Microsoft UK 

The pandemic triggered a remote working revolution, the likes of which had never been seen before. IT teams rose to the challenge, investing in devices and technology to support their workforce through a fast-moving and uncertain time.

It has been over two years since the world pivoted to new ways of working. During this time, the ‘home office’ has been painstakingly tinkered and tailored to individual needs, kitted out with the right tools, technology, furniture and of course, creature comforts.

Organisations around the globe have trialled the best ways to effectively manage a remote workforce, proving they should trust their people to be productive even when away from the office. Now as offices are open once again, leaders must ensure they are up to date with the technology needed to help ease returning workforces.

The world of work has changed dramatically, perhaps irrevocably, but one thing is certain, flexible work is here to stay. With this in mind, organisations and employers are seeking answers, finding the perfect balance to empower their people seamlessly work at home, on the move, or in the office.

Evolved employee expectations

The experience of the past two years has reshaped priorities, identities, and worldviews, drawing a line between what’s important – health, family, time, purpose – and what’s not. As a result, employees’ “worth it” equation, what people want from work and what they’re willing to give in return, has changed.

In our study, 47% of respondents say they are more likely to put family and personal life over work than they were before the pandemic. As more people experience the upsides of flexible work, the more heavily it factors into the equation over what employees choose to do, where to earn a living and ways to work more seamlessly. Consequently, many organisations are continuing to experiment with flexible working to meet the evolving employee demand.

For most organisations, flexible working will require a significant culture shift by establishing new ways of working with associated policies and practices. Although many people worked from home during the pandemic and developed relevant skills, in some ways hybrid will make greater demands of managers and organisations than the urgent shift to total remote working.

The anywhere office

The message from employees is that they expect to be given efficient devices, not something that just about gets the job done, or even slows them down as a result. Employee expectations are varied, but consistent, with many seeking a device capable of supporting their desire to work flexibly, increased security and better ways to engage with their teams through greater connectivity and collaboration tools.

In fact, 61% of employees say having the right device for their role helps them maintain a healthy work-life balance, by supporting their productivity. Employees need to be able to work seamlessly between workplace and home, and there needs to be ease of connectivity between people in the office and those working remotely.

The link between having a versatile, adaptable device, and its impact on employee experience and satisfaction in the flexible working world, is clear. Employee expectations have changed, and a powerful new device can boost morale and appeal to talent, by making staff feel valued, while also creating a boost to productivity across an organisation.

Devices with faster compute power, speed and connectivity don’t just address employee frustrations, they also positively impact individual performance and the businesses’ wider outcomes. Workers are seeking the right fit when it comes to their devices whether that be finding a connected, on-to-go tablet, a familiar laptop, or a creative canvas. A portable and adaptable device can support a seamless state of work. In fact, more than a third of employees who received a new device since the onset of Covid-19 reported a resulting increase in their productivity.

Far from being just a technical necessity, hardware upgrades and device refreshes should be viewed as an opportunity to increase employee satisfaction and boost morale, and as a potential recruitment perk too.

To ease the new ways of working, technology is key to empowering staff to achieve greater productivity and motivation. This means ensuring they have devices that perform as well as they do and allow them to bring their best selves to their work, wherever they may be situated.