War for talent overlooks importance of tech support

Cal Lee, Founder & Head, Workthere

The technology infrastructure a workspace offers is increasingly at the forefront of SME business priorities when they approach Workthere for an office space. To explore this trend further, we carried out an online survey among 1,000 UK office workers to explore their attitudes towards office technology. We found that employees from young companies, that are less than three years old, (a vast majority of which are SMEs) possess much more of an affinity towards office technology than those who work for established companies of 20+ years. What does this affinity towards office tech mean for younger businesses?

The potential damage of a weak office tech spec to recruitment and retention 

We found that an appropriate tech spec is more important for employees from ‘young’ companies (under three years old), with employees from businesses under three years almost twice as likely to refuse to work for a company that underinvests in office tech (36%), than employees from a ‘mature’ business, which we are have defined as being over 20 years old (19%).

Additionally, 30% of young company staff have said that if their employers do not make the necessary investments into new office technology within the next year, they would seriously consider looking for a new job. This attitude towards office tech is far weaker among workers for established firms of 20+ years, with only 18% willing to leave if new office technology investment is not imminent.

Despite these attitudes towards office technology, and despite the recent upturn in interest among SMEs for a high-tech office space, it still seems as though young SMEs are behind the curve in recognising the significant role that office technology can play for them in the war for talent. According to employees, young businesses in particular (0-3 years) put less of an emphasis on attracting new talent when making decisions about investing in new tech (51% say it is a main priority) compared to the average UK company, where 55% say it is a main priority.

Young businesses more likely to use technology for staff welfare

Although they may not be using technology to win as much new talent as they should be, the data suggests that young companies are recognising that office technology can help retain talent, instead. Over half (54%) of those companies aged between 0-3 years prioritise psychological well-being for their employees when investing in new technology, which compares to only a third of mature companies, according to their own employees. Additionally, 52% of the workforce for young businesses say that improving staff concentration levels is a key priority for their employers when deciding on what new technology to invest in, compared to only 35% of the workforce from mature companies, over 20 years old. 

Workers from younger businesses take to new office technology quicker 

Despite the clear priority of office tech for workers in the SME world, decision-makers might still have reservations over new office tech, depending on how long it takes employees to familiarise themselves with it. While it is true that mature businesses may be able to absorb teething problems with new tech – as well as the cost of such tech-  better due to their increased size and resources, those who work for young businesses adapt to new technology quicker, having taken an average of only 30 hours to fully familiarise themselves with the last piece of software implemented within their company. Comparatively, workers from established companies took 47 hours.

A working environment that can provide the technological functions to make an employee’s life easier is an aspect often overlooked in the war for talent. As such, it is clearly important for SMEs to either invest, or find an office space with the right tech spec for their workforce, and there are signs that SMEs are catching on to the significance a hot tech spec can have for them.

Workthere is a new venture by Savills introduced to help businesses find flexible, co-working and serviced office space