Published on June 3rd, 2021 | by Adrian Gunning
Quality audio solutions become a critical success factor for hybrid working and set a new standard of professionalism
Technology is at the heart of a new standard of professionalism demanded by hybrid working. Business leaders and employees alike want audio and video solutions to help maintain standards, while benefitting from a mix of remote and office-based working, according to the latest ‘Understanding Sound Experiences’ report from global audio brand EPOS. In the last year the lives of professionals have been transformed. While hybrid work is now a reality, professional end users today are losing 31 minutes a week to poor audio – an increase from 29 minutes a week in 2020 – despite growing familiarity with remote working situations. Suggesting that although hybrid working promises greater flexibility for both individuals and businesses, the changes needed to optimise the model remain a challenge and audio technology is a primary factor.
Employees see hybrid working as the future
There is broad agreement that hybrid work presents new opportunities. But there is a discrepancy between the expectations of company decision-makers and employees about the nature of work post-pandemic. More than half (53%) of global decision makers anticipate that most employees will work from the office, whereas just 26% of employees think the same. By contrast, 36% of employees believe they will work more from home compared to before the pandemic, whereas only 30% of decision-makers think this.
Employee attitudes towards work have shifted in the past year and the move to hybrid presents a significant opportunity for businesses. Those businesses which adopt a thoughtful and strategic approach to the future, considering the views of their workforce, are likely to thrive and attract the best talent.
Organisations can choose to invest in high-quality, engineered audio solutions to meet the demands of on-the-go work. And those that do may edge the competition in the post-pandemic world.
High-quality audio empowers employees
Missing important information shared by clients or asking people to repeat themselves during virtual meetings can damage client relationships and adds a barrier to securing new business. In a hybrid setting, bad audio poses a barrier to professionalism more damaging than a scuffed shoe or weak handshake: 60% of decision makers believe better sound will help them retain clients, while 71% believe that it will help prevent lost pitches in the future.
Those adopting the right audio technology now are at a competitive advantage – they are more efficient, more professional, and capable of elevating the client experience. With the right technology solutions, EPOS found that 64% of end users say that quality audio solutions allow them to capture critical information while 61% believe the right solutions empowers them to appear professional.
Employee wellbeing is tied to this and is critical to the success of any organisation. Technology designed for the quiet environment of an office often doesn’t work for a remote set-up. As such, many employees struggle to maintain their workflow when working out of the office, due to the emotional impact of poor audio. 26% of employees are left feeling frustrated, irritated, or annoyed; and 19% experience moments of stress.
Recognise the risk, prepare for the opportunity
The importance of high-quality audio to the success of hybrid businesses cannot be overstated, with 83% of decision-makers reporting that poor audio experiences have caused their company issues over the past 12 months, with 20% citing that it led to dissatisfied clients. In the extreme, 15% of respondents say audio issues have resulted in a financial hit by losing a key deal or contract. And 17% reported financial loss due to incorrectly carrying out a task.
Bad audio negatively affects customer relations, productivity, and employee satisfaction. Global decision-makers have caught onto the importance of using the right audio technology and are acting by investing in high-quality solutions. 86% said they are considering acquiring new audio equipment in the next year. By acting now, decision makers can address immediate audio issues in their organisation and mitigate the risks they pose to the business in the long-term.
“Businesses have an opportunity now”, says Jeppe Dalberg-Larsen, President at EPOS. “There are concrete steps businesses can take to bridge the gap between office-based and remote working – and this starts with ensuring that everyone’s voice can be heard. When over 80% of decision makers say that poor audio is causing issues – and that these issues include dissatisfied clients and direct loss of business, we can no longer afford to ignore the problem. With more than a third of employees globally wanting to work remotely in the future, we need to provide them with the technology they need to feel confident to reach their full potential at work. Only by doing this can we navigate the hybrid model and set a new standard of professionalism that – rightly – makes what we say central to success.”