The implementation of new technology in the workplace is important for firms to stay competitive and keep up with the fast pace of business life. Investing in new technology is a risk however, as it can cost time and money in its implementation. What’s more, a suitable space is needed with the correct equipment and amenities to support new technology. Not all office spaces can support modern IT infrastructure.
The litmus test for new technology is how well employees react to it. With this is mind, Workthere, a serviced office specialist that helps businesses find office space, surveyed 1,000 UK office workers to create a guide on the top 5 things that businesses should consider when implementing office technology.
1. IT departments have a different idea of the types of technology they would most like to see compared to their colleagues
Decision-makers should bear in mind that blanket implementation of technology may not necessarily be the answer, as different departments will have different expectations when it comes to their office technology.
For instance, the three technological innovations that workers in the IT department would like to see most in the next 5 years are:
- Connected technology
- AI for manual tasks
- Virtual assistants
Meanwhile, on a company-wide level, technology most in-demand is more conservative. While connected office technology remains top of the wish list, voice activated technology and wireless charging pads take the silver and bronze medal positions respectively. These are innovations that are more easily implemented and require a less steep learning-curve, but do not provide the cutting edge functions that IT departments need.
2. Consulting staff is key to implementing the right technology
With three quarters (75%) of IT workers agreeing that the most up-to-date technology is crucial for the company they work for, getting the tech right has to be a priority for those implementing it. Yet,according to Workthere’s research,38% of IT workers say that the company they work for has invested too much time and money in the past on unhelpful technology.
While there could be many reasons why technology hasn’t worked out previously, 47% of IT professionals think that their company could have prevented wasting money on unnecessary office tech if it had engaged with employees more. To help minimise the risk of investing in technology that is unfit for purpose, an alternative could be to look at serviced offices already fully kitted-out, available to cater to technological needs at the drop of a hat.
One thing is for sure, a successful roll-out of office tech lies in understanding the staff’s capabilities and needs, and so the technology must reflect their input.
3. Allow time for staff to get fully familiar with new tech
While technology must reflect staff input, it is also important to invest the right amount of resources in training staff to use it properly. New and unfamiliar technology can be intimidating and seemingly complicated. This is illustrated by the fact that 55% of IT workers said that the company they work for has had many teething problems when implementing new technology in the past. Over a third of all UK office workers (34%) are scared that they will fall behind if new technology is implemented as it takes them some time to adapt. The back-drop to this is that the average employee took 42 hours to fully familiarise themselves with the last bit of software implemented by their firm – that’s a week’s worth of work, and £832 worth of wages!
Why this lack of confidence in new tech? It is no coincidence that it chimes with the feelings of most IT professionals (51%) that their company does not invest enough resources into training staff properly. It is clear that by under-investing in staff training, companies are by extension under-investing in the technology itself. After all, what is the point of investing in the tech if no one knows how to use it properly?
4. IT departments should be a focus to increase productivity, as they lose the most time on faulty tech
So, where are the greatest gains in efficiency to be made? IT professionals are losing the most time on technology that isn’t working properly – 71 minutes per week. In comparison to other departments, production teams come closest with 65 minutes a week lost per person, while sales teams lose 55 minutes per person, and finance & accounting professionals lose 54 minutes.
As IT departments work almost exclusively with software and technology, it makes sense that they lose the most time on it as outdated tech will affect their teams more than any other department. This should be the focus of new technology there is most efficiency to be gained here, and the IT infrastructure of the wider company is driven through this department.
5. While technology should drive efficiency internally, it can also be seen as a tool to attract new talent and business
In the 21st century, office technology is turning into a business card for firms. The research shows that those firms with an impressive tech spec present a more positive external image to the world, and this can be used to attract talent. A quarter (25%) of respondents, for instance, say that they would not be prepared to work for a company that does not have the most up-to-date technology, while 24% will also seriously consider looking for a new job if their company does not make the necessary investments into new tech. What’s more,32% say they try to ask about technology in the job interview and a quarter (24%) will also seriously consider looking for a new job if their company does not make the necessary investments into new tech.
Potential business partners also take note of a company’s technology situation, with 24% of respondents saying they would not be prepared to do business with a company that does not have the most up-to-date technology. Additionally, almost half (46%) think that low-spec, cheap technology shows the firm is not prepared to invest in the well-being of its staff. But beware, do not go overboard, 37% say that a company with flashy tech is probably not a good partner for business, as they do not utilise funds efficiently.
Ultimately, a high-spec, up-to-date technological space is going to attract the best talent, drive efficiency and win business. A business’ commitment to technology is crucial, and they need the right space to compliment this, as well as any future investment. Smaller firms in particular can use high-tech serviced office and co-working environments to ensure they are able to keep pace with the office environments of larger businesses. Seeking advice from the right people – technology providers, the staff, and serviced office specialists – will all contribute to an inevitably successful and efficient technological space that will allow the business to thrive.
Cal Lee, Founder and Head of Workthere
Image Credit: SFIO CRACHO / Shutterstock