The global shift towards hybrid working is being hindered by the fact many employees still have to use outdated and unsuitable devices supplied by their employer.
A new study from Microsoft has found that employees across the UK feel like they are being held back from doing their jobs properly due to having the wrong hardware, including laptops, tablets and smartphones.
However the survey also found that many bosses do have the funds to improve this situation, and in fact share many of the same concerns over productivity - they just haven’t acted yet.
Surveying over 3,000 employees and over 1,000 IT decision-makers (ITDMs), Microsoft’s study found that two-thirds (66%) employees with a work-related laptop or tablet have been using the same one since Covid struck.
This figure rises to 71% in front-line workers - meaning that it’s high time for a refresh cycle for many businesses. Only 25% of employees had been given a new device during this time.
Microsoft found that employee needs have changed over the course of the pandemic, not least in the dwindling number that are fully office-based.
Over a third (34%) of respondents felt their devices could help them more, with poor performance, battery life and connectivity the major bugbears - as well as an overbearing feeling that employee needs aren’t being considered by ITDMs making purchasing calls.
The study noted that new devices aren’t just a productivity boost, though - they can also boost morale. Giving updated devices can not only make workers feel more positive about their employer, but can also improve motivation, as well as helping maintain a healthy work-life balance.
The onus, then, appears to be on employers - and many of the ITDMs surveyed in the study did seem receptive to splashing the cash. Nearly three quarters (73%) said they had adequate or more than adequate budget to purchase new devices to support hybrid workers as the new style of working becomes ever more popular.
“Few could have predicted the sudden global shift to remote working, and the workplace will keep changing in unexpected ways as technology evolves and organisations everywhere experiment with hybrid models,” noted Howard Lewis, Surface Business Group Lead, Microsoft UK.
“We hope this report will illuminate the path toward a future-proof workplace, by highlighting the most important considerations for ITDMs as they weigh up device investment decisions. Our goal is to help IT teams meet changing employee expectations and set their organisations up for long-term success, in this new hybrid world of work.”
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Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.