Technology is often seen as a way of improving business from the perspective of the employer, or the balance sheet. But it perhaps isn’t as common to consider the positives of technology within business that helps make employees’ lives easier.
Nonetheless, now is the time to start looking at the innovations deployed by the business from the standpoint of the workforce. That’s because employee experience has never been so important in the world of work. Research by Microsoft has found that 46% of the global workforce are considering changing their jobs now that remote working has become more widespread, and so businesses have work to do to either retain or attract top talent.
Technology has the ability to not only transform the way that employees do their jobs day-to-day, but also how they think and feel about their jobs and their employer. Below we investigate four ways in which tech can be a force for good among the workforce:
1. They’re more productive
Employees are generally more productive when they’re able to work flexibly, and this works in two ways. Firstly, working from home generally proves to be the better option when employees need time and space on their own to concentrate: FlexJobs research has found 76% of employees prefer to avoid the office for work like this. On the other hand, work that requires collaboration between groups of people works better through face-to-face contact in meeting rooms, rather than over video calls.
Technology helps in both cases as employees can access everything they need, all the time. When working from home, they can use virtual desktops to access relevant data and applications, and use messaging tools to keep in touch with co-workers. When collaborating in the office, they can use a workspace booking software to search for and book a meeting room that fulfils the needs of everyone taking part.
2. Their work-life balance is improved
The pandemic has led countless workers to re-assess what’s important to them in their careers, and many people have given their work-life balance more priority. This has implications in the job market: according to Glassdoor, 47% of job-seekers say work-life balance is a unique selling point when evaluating new positions.
A key part of delivering a strong work-life balance for employees is to allow them to work the way they want, and within reason where and when they want. If they want to work from home most of the time, they should be able to do so. Furthermore, if they are needed in the office but want their own space to concentrate on their work, then they should be able to use technology to book a personal workspace to do so. In areas where businesses can’t be flexible for certain operational reasons, they should try to reduce stress or inconvenience to employees as much as possible instead.
3. They feel more valued
When employees work from home more often, they can easily feel cut off and isolated from their co-workers, and from the business as a whole. This can have a negative effect on their mental wellbeing, and can also impede the success of their team when employees are unable to form strong bonds and build positive working relationships with each other.
Video calls serve a great purpose in helping employees connect (and proved indispensable during the worst periods of the pandemic when entire workforces had to work from home). However, as with meetings, there is often no substitute for face-to-face contact.
This is where workplaces can play a vital role as a hub for socializing and team-building, especially if the workplace is fitted out with more informal ‘breakout zones’ that teams can book for non-work purposes.
4. They feel in control
Research from Totaljobs has found that 90% of workers worldwide want at least partial flexibility in where they work. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean full-time remote working, and nor does it have to mean a regimented approach where certain employees come into the office to work on certain days of the week.
When employees are given freedom to choose when they work from the office, and what they work from the office for, they feel more empowered through the control that they’re given. Of course, they need to be able to move seamlessly between locations at will, and a good workspace booking solution can help by connecting them to bookable office workspaces at the precise times they need them.