Giving people what they need to perform at their best

"Does your company give you the tools and technologies you need to do your job well?"

This question, which forms part of a typical employee satisfaction survey, is even more pertinent as many workspaces morph from a traditional office environment to either a home set-up, or a combination of the two – thanks to ‘hybrid working’.

As the owner of a technical business, I would expand that question even further to ask: “Does your team have the necessary equipment and environment that are conducive to providing both a suitable workspace and the tools they need, in order to work smarter and at maximum efficiency?”

From my experience, it can often be a culmination of lots of little things that cause the most frustrations – ultimately leading to disengagement and low morale.

Once such example would be access to the relevant IT systems. It shouldn’t seem like too much to ask, but from a technical perspective, something as simple as having an old laptop that is a little slow to load files and webpages can have a massive impact on productivity.

Team members who begin each day with the frustration of having to wait for a slow machine to fire up – pressing the ‘power’ button and having enough time to make tea and toast – can be compounded by missing deadlines because they didn’t plan the extra ‘loading’ time, or the added stress that a slow machine brings, when being pressed for information quickly.

Meanwhile, from a working environment perspective, consideration should extend far beyond whether a chair, monitor and desk are at optimal working height – but also take into account other contributing factors such as space, light, noise, and temperature.

As a business leader, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your team and ask whether they’re likely to feel motivated if they are constantly frustrated with their equipment and/or environment?

We’ve taken the decision to move some of the team back into the office this month, and thanks to some creative desk juggling we’re all at least two metres apart and enjoying being back together again. Although, it hasn’t been without its challenges – as we spent a few months only allowing employees to working from HQ on a rota basis.

At the start of lockdown, most of the team had taken their kit home, so transporting things back-and-forth during this transition period would be a total pain – and the working conditions would always be sub-optimal in one of the locations.

To overcome this, we conducted an inventory of all the technical infrastructure we have available in the office – and introduced a ‘hot desk’ set-up. While this concept is nothing new, for our techies – who have a lot of hardware – they have previously kept all of their work-related collateral in one place.

But, by investing in additional items, such as desk phones and monitors, staff can ‘borrow’ whatever they need when working from HQ, and leave it behind for their colleagues, the following day.

This small investment means that the team’s day to day isn’t littered with distractions from not being able to function as seamlessly as they would normally. And the return on investment when it comes to our staff satisfaction levels makes it totally worth the cost – I am sure this will pay dividends in the long-run.

While returning to a shared space following six months of almost pure isolation can be unnerving, removing the disruption of not having the right kit can make a significant difference. Colleagues feel valued, listened to, and cared for, and this pays back in droves in terms of their dedication and work ethic, and of course, efficiency.

As we all transition to whatever the new version of the working day looks like, it’s the ideal time to identify where there are any gaps. Is there something missing that you can easily resolve and would make a major change to team morale?

If you would like to talk through making the most of the equipment you have, and whether a small investment could pay dividends for your business, get in touch with us by calling 01524 581690 or emailing us at hello@q2q-it.com.