Review your tools: ‘work from home’ equipment & hybrid solutions

23 Nov 21 | Blog

Culture. Purpose. Community. Business leaders love talking about these intangible aspects of working life. Maybe because there’s no definitive answer, or because they feel like less expensive problems to solve…

But it’s important we consider the practical side of things too. Tools, equipment, technology – they’re more important than you think. 

Tools are an overlooked problem for most organisations

The reality is, a lot of organisations aren’t very good when it comes to supplying the right tools and tech their employees need. 7/10 say they don’t have what they need to work effectively, one study saw that 40% of employee time was spent looking for paper records, and that people spend longer waiting for old technology to work than they do on holiday. 

From old technology and bad internet connections to the complicated, overlapping enterprise software employees are forced to use, you’re annoying your teams and wasting time if you don’t get this issue sorted.  

Why you need to spend money (on tools) to make money

So providing the right tools is a problem – but is it one worth solving? Here’s a few reasons you should think about making it a priority:

We all know the benefits of employee engagement – higher productivity, profits, and performance to name a few – so the negative effects of bad tools shouldn’t be ignored. But fixing the problem involves knowing exactly where you’re going wrong. 

Laptops matter, of course, but so does access to the “intangible assets” that help you do your job, like data or supporting staff. So don’t assume upgrading everyone to the latest iPhone is the answer – especially if you’re moving to new ways of working.

In a hybrid workplace, tools are even more important

Remote working is one thing, office working is another. We’ve had years to perfect the latter, and have adjusted pretty quickly to the former – thanks to the pandemic. It’s now easier than ever to work at home with modern technology on hand. But that doesn’t mean hybrid work will be easy. 

Hybrid meetings are challenging, proximity bias is a problem, and inclusion is at risk if you don’t get your hybrid working model up-to-scratch quickly – and tools are a huge part of that. 

Recommended survey: our Tools deep dive

If you’re considering some level of hybrid working, it’s time to reassess the tools you’re providing. Our Tools Deep Dive was designed to do just that: quickly, simply, and effectively. All set-up and ready to go in 15 minutes, you’ll understand what to do by focusing on these areas:

1. Digital & connected

These questions focus on whether your organisation is providing up-to-date, reliable tools – modern, digital technology that enables them to do their job, the information they need, and the right number of systems so they’re not overwhelmed. 

Hybrid tooling tip:

Beware of ‘tool fatigue’ and time wasted switching between different software – try and find solutions that are multifunctional, like video calling with gestures and transcription built in.

2. Fit for purpose

These questions relate more specifically to whether individual employees have what they need to succeed. From having properly set-up tools to complete their specific tasks, to systems that help them and their team be productive and efficient, you’ll notice any glaring issues.

Hybrid tooling tip:

This aspect is key if you’ve recently moved to a hybrid working model, as new gaps will appear – use these insights as a way to adjust your tooling appropriately, from introducing things like digital whiteboards to reviewing office-focused processes.

3. Reliable/available

The next set of questions centre around reliability. Are your systems and tools always working properly, and accessible to your staff, and how quickly are bugs fixed and broken parts mended. This helps you work out how much time might be being wasted, and what’s causing any frustration in your teams.

Hybrid tooling tip:

Bad internet connections waste time and hamper communication, so opting for a reliable provider in the office matters. At home, you could consider offering a set amount of ‘back-up’ mobile data for when their connections drop or subsidise them upgrading their package.

4. Easy to use

These questions look at the ease of use – both from a technological ability aspect and in terms of wider accessibility. Are you meeting everyone’s needs in terms of how easy tools and systems are to use and are they helping prevent errors and issues, rather than causing them?

Hybrid tooling tip:

This is a good chance to check-in on accessibility more generally – as it’s key to inclusion – and is especially at risk in a hybrid setting, where some groups are more likely to stay remote

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