The workplace tech upgrade

Eleanor McBryde, general manager IT Solutions at LG Electronics, explains how channel companies can help businesses to upgrade their tech to position themselves for growth and retain the best talent.

In an endless stream of news and views about the pandemic and its effects, one of the impacts which has had less airtime is the transformation of our relationship with technology – and what that means as we go back to normality.

When the pandemic hit, almost overnight our relationship with technology started to change. During strict lockdowns around the world, ‘screen time’ went from being widely seen as ‘the enemy’ to being pretty much the only thing we had.

In spending so much time at home, many workers took the time to upgrade their home tech. Knowledge workers who were fortunate enough to keep their jobs might even have found themselves with spare cash, and many of those chose to invest in new technology solutions to make lockdown more entertaining.

A Deloitte survey on consumer electronics purchases in August 2020 found that UK adults had already purchased around 21 million new consumer tech devices for their homes during lockdown – whether for work or entertainment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was televisions, smartphones, laptops and games consoles which were the most common electronics purchases during lockdown as people looked to pass the time.

We all know what happened next, as various factors combined to create component shortages around the world. Such was our appetite for new consumer tech products that production and delivery couldn’t keep pace with demand, and shortages were common.

But as supply chains return to normal after the worst impacts of the pandemic and supply ramps up again to meet demand, there’s a new problem here for businesses. Many organisations are trying to lure workers back to the office, and consumers who may already be reluctant to return face the prospect of leaving behind their shiny new home technology to go back to their tired, old, too-small monitor in the office.

Businesses that want to coax employees back to the office would do well to see this as an opportunity to upgrade their office tech as an additional incentive for employees to make the journey back into the office. Service providers and consultancies which have been able to protect revenues and even reduce costs during the pandemic should now be looking to invest for growth. Now is a great time to capitalise and encourage the workforce safely back to offices in a phased return, and new tech is a great incentive to do so.

Ideal solutions

Channel companies can be the ideal solution here for businesses considering the best approach on how they use technology to lure their workers back in. Experts in the industry, they’ll be able to analyse a business’s needs, and provide guidance on how and what to invest in to position themselves for growth. Channel companies are typically well-established within markets, and will have built-in trust with brands that means they’ll know in detail the range of products on offer from manufacturers, and can provide expert recommendations to a business. 

Apart from boosting morale and sending a positive message to employees, new tech can also offer much needed productivity gains. If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we should all be working smarter, not harder. Ultrawide monitors with up to 30% of extra screen space than 16:9 screens can make tasks easier and increase your efficiency – so employees can get more done in the same amount of time. In a seeming contradiction, sometimes the best way to coax employees back to the office is to convince them that they can spend less time in the office – by getting more done in less time. 

Boosting productivity

This laser focus on productivity and work levels as a result of the pandemic has led to manufacturers developing office technology designed specifically for ease of use for workers sitting at their desks all day. Channel companies will be working closely with their manufacturer partners to understand in detail the developments made and how businesses can get the most benefit out of the new technology. 

Some new monitors and displays feature ‘almost-zero flicker’ technology, which enables people to work more comfortably without straining the eyes. Likewise features like ‘reader mode’ allow the reduction of blue light emissions that can be harmful to the eyes, or disrupt sleep patterns. After more than a year of real hardship for many, surely it’s time to take better care of ourselves as we return to the office.

At a basic level, consumers who have spent their own money upgrading their home tech setup during the pandemic have increased expectations for their workstations now on their return to the office. As the UK economy opens up and shows the green shoots of rapid recovery, liquidity will return to the labour market and job moves will become more frequent and common. Office tech will once again become a differentiator for companies looking to attract and retain the best talent, and channel companies are perfectly placed to be the guiding voices on the tech investment needed to make this happen. Now is the time for companies to put themselves in the driving seat, pay attention to their employees technology wants and needs, and ultimately position themselves for growth. 

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