Medium businesses (11-249 employees) are the heart of the UK economy, generating over £1.4 trillion a year and employing more than 7.5 million people. Their working environment is changing rapidly; according to a recent survey by Virgin Media O2 Business, medium business employees now spend just 25% of their time in the office. As businesses establish long-term hybrid working policies, tech is the key to keeping employees motivated, productive and maintaining growth amid an uncertain economic backdrop.
In a hybrid world, tech fuels growth
With 51% of respondents aiming for measured growth over the next year, it is essential that medium business leaders prioritise tech to realise the many benefits it provides.
In fact, recent research by Virgin Media O2 Business found that 65% of medium business leaders view tech as their biggest driver of growth. However, while tech and connectivity both play a significant role in business progression, a third of medium business leaders say that tech is the number one internal challenge for their business.
As we look towards an uncertain future, it is vital that medium businesses can rely on their IT partners to help them overcome tech challenges. Equipping teams with the digital solutions to work from anywhere is more important than ever when it comes to attracting talent and business growth.
Collaboration is key
Whilst medium businesses continue to grapple with the realities of long-term hybrid working, decision-makers must continue to fund the technology needed to help their teams thrive at work. Understanding the changing needs of employees is essential for medium business leaders who want to improve employee engagement and win the battle for talent. Providing relevant technology can ensure employee satisfaction, retention, and motivation across the virtual and physical workspace.
Collaboration between staff is essential for training, development, and effective task completion. It’s one of the main challenges of hybrid working – without the right tech, communication between colleagues working from different locations can be difficult.
In fact, 23% of medium business employees recognise how tech supports them in improving team collaboration. With software tools focusing on collaboration, project management, and resource planning, investment in technology ensures staff can effectively work together virtually. These services improve collaboration by offering features like instant messaging and co-editing capabilities, so employees can work easily and efficiently together.
Implementing collaboration tools enables staff to deliver higher quality work, improving the service offered to clients and ultimately, maintaining growth.
Medium businesses need the support of their IT partners to understand which tools can be used to help their employees. Amid the rising cost of doing business, organisations need to be sure that any investment made is the right one and that they can extract all the benefits from the tools and services they have available. It’s the duty of partners to support medium businesses to ensure they are maximising this value they get from their tech.
Boosting productivity through tech
Virgin Media O2 Business’ research shows that business leaders view tech as a key contributor to improved productivity (87%). Research from NatWest reveals that SMEs using two or more technology solutions, like ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or CRM (Customer Relationship Management), benefit from a 25% productivity boost. Saving employees time with automated processes allows them to focus on stimulating work, aiding growth and improving employee engagement.
Unreliable technology can regularly cause frustration and anxiety for employees. Indeed, Virgin Media O2 Business’ Tech and the Battle for Talent report shows that 81% of UK workers believe tech plays an important role in helping them stay engaged and happy at work, while 48% said that poor quality tech made them more likely to resign.
The benefits of easy-to-use tech are clear. When asked which of the following factors they believe would improve the quality of work delivered to clients, medium business leaders recognised seamless integration of devices, automation of standard/manual processes and collaborative tools that support colleagues as the most prominent solutions to supply.
Investing in people, not just product
According to 77% of medium sized businesses, offering new technology can boost morale amongst employees. Whether it’s a new integrated system or a new phone or tablet purchased through Virgin Media O2 Business’ ‘Get More Fund’, you are gaining more than just a product – it’s an investment in your team too.
Staff feel valued when you invest in the tools they use. Prioritising both technology and training makes medium-sized businesses far more attractive to employees amid the ongoing battle for talent. 42% of employees are more likely to stay in their current job if their employers provide more regular, intensive training on the use of digital technology.
Amidst an increase in the cost of doing business, there is a temptation to de-prioritise continued financing of tech – but inaction brings its own set of risks. Our Tech and the Battle for Talent research discovered that 50% of employees in organisations that wanted to revert to pre-pandemic technologies, were more likely to resign from their job in the next six months.
Technology is the fuel driving medium businesses forward
With the shift to hybrid work becoming permanent, medium businesses need reassurance that they can rely on the support of their IT partners to reap the benefits from technology investments.
Medium businesses need motivated, collaborative and productive employees, who have the tools they need to work smarter. Funding the technology used by employees will empower medium businesses on their path to growth and ensure they continue to be the backbone of the British economy.
Source: HR news