October 24, 2020

Where the UK is headed post-COVID-19 for technology in the workplace

Windsor Telecom decided to take a look into the UK’s current working styles and trends to discover what tools and technologies are needed to bridge the generational gaps in the workplace.

Pete Tomlinson, CEO of Windsor Telecom said:
“It’s vital that employers address the fundamental changes we’re seeing across all generations. Lockdown has forced a conversation that needed to be had higher up the agenda because many employees are struggling to use the technology needed day to day, and employers are searching for straightforward and reliable solutions that work for all.”

Our Data

Windsor Telecom analysed their customer call data from 2010, 2019 and Jan – July 2020, which amounts to over 73.9 million calls.
A sample size of 7,385 companies across the UK and Ireland shows that:

As the UK went into lockdown in April 2020, 44% less business calls were made compared to April 2019
This continues in May 2020 with 40% less business calls compared to May 2019.
In total, 28% less business calls are made between March and July 2020 compared to the same period in 2019
(Period compared – March – July 2019 vs March – July 2020)

General Public Quotes

We spoke to people across the generations to discover what their biggest technology frustrations in lockdown have been.

Stella Ralfinis, Age 73.
“What greatly frustrated me during lockdown was my lack of technical skills which mostly has to do with my age – 73. My main work is teaching live seminars which were all cancelled and won’t start up again until next Spring. I bravely attempted to teach a few seminars online and my confidence was hugely dented when the screen blanked out or lighting was so poor that those online couldn’t see me clearly. I am now doing my best in a world where I was left behind because I never foresaw what was coming.”
Christian Azolan, Age 37.
“We were all promised that the networks and broadband providers had the bandwidth and capacity to cope, clearly they didn’t account for my three iPads, iPhones, MacBook’s and a host of other devices like my Apple and Amazon TV that all need to be connected all the time! Then there’s WhatsApp, FaceTime and Zoom. Why does everyone want to see everyone? What’s wrong with just talking on the phone with no video? It’s ok to just speak on audio only.”
Lindsey Evans, Age 31.
“The biggest issue we have had during lockdown is having to interview people via Zoom (for a podcast) and having their audio cut in and out. There’s no way to salvage it and makes it a waste of everyone’s time. An issue we never had to deal with when we were sitting with people face to face.”
Dymohe Mensink, Age 22.
“As a travel influencer and blogger with over 72k Instagram followers [Dymabroad] I constantly have to be connected to the internet to manage my online business. Since the Wi-Fi connection in my house is very bad, it was very inconvenient to work from home. Frequently, the Wi-Fi suddenly stops working. Also, it costs lots of time when there is a power outage (which happens quite a lot at my home). Normally, I work a lot at other places, such as the library or a Starbucks, but because of the lockdown I couldn’t go there. Therefore, I lost a lot of time due to these technical issues.”

Multi-generational Working

For many, the future of working is virtual. Companies need to invest in becoming more adaptable, focused on providing technologies that are straightforward to use and the training required for every generation to be able to use them with ease. This means rather than opting between technology tools or training, providing both.
Many technology providers are adapting to be able to suit all five generations. The adoption curve has now been turned on its head. This is amplified when new generations enter the workplace.
Mass adoption of home working has brought technology pain points and the issues surrounding connectivity and communication to the forefront of people’s minds.
With the user experience and adoption becoming far greater priorities for every technology provider, companies should make sure that they don’t compromise on these when looking for the right solution for their business.
We have devised a list of areas to consider to ensure the best efficiency at work.

Training

A team that is aware of all the technology at their disposal, and that are confident using it are likely to be more productive and collaborative. They can also play a supporting role with team members who may be less confident using certain technologies.

Video Conferencing

Demand for video conferencing, whether it be standalone tools like Zoom or more integrated unified comms solutions like Microsoft Teams, has surged since lockdown. In fact, business-focused mobile app downloads reached 62 million during the week of March 14-21, the highest number ever seen.
While some employees are experiencing so-called ‘Zoom fatigue’, the key is to get the right balance of video and phone calls. Research suggests that the energy needed for video calls is so much more than in person so plan your meetings with that in mind to help maintain a happy, motivated workforce.
A workforce consumer survey from Gartner revealed that employees spent an average time of 11.7 hours a week in meetings. In fact, 9% of respondents spent more than 20 hours of their working week in meetings.

Instant Messaging

Instant messaging apps like Slack and Skype, or new unified comms tools like Microsoft Teams, mean that the team can be in contact with each other throughout the day, without needing to pick up the phone. However, all have the capability for video and audio calls if needed. You can send files with ease and quickly ask any burning question rather than waiting for an email reply.

VoIP Calls

VoIP cloud phone systems provide businesses with an easy way to answer calls on-the-go without being restricted to one device. The call handling features make managing calls in and out of your business responsive and straightforward and integrate with unified comms solutions

Cloud Based Storage

Cloud-based tools like Microsoft 365, Google Drive, SharePoint and Dropbox allow your team to share and collaborate in real time, from any location.

Connectivity

As our case studies show you can’t work effectively and use technology like the above without a reliable connection. Without that your employees are going to struggle to be productive and frustrations will rise
In August 2020 the government reached its gigabit broadband rollout milestone, with half a million premises with access to gigabit technology. But there still fundamental improvements needed to get everyone connected and working as seamlessly as possible.

There are various options to choose from when it comes to improved connectivity, ranging from solutions like business broadband perfect for those needing a robust connection when working from home, to leased line DIA and SD-WAN for offices, businesses and people back in the office.