Creating a great place to work starts with the right technology

Creating a great place to work starts with the right technology.

We recently received an award for being one of the ‘Great Places to Work’ in the UK. Winning awards is always special, and as the MD, it makes me incredibly proud of our team. We always relish the opportunity to showcase our work as well as our greatest asset, our fantastic employees. From HR to finance, and everyone in between has turned this business into an enjoyable and welcoming place to work and I'm thankful and proud of them for doing that. It’s a testament to the work they do and the work we do driving our customer success that we have been recognised for being a great place to work.

As we received the award, I thought about the past year, the evolving role of technology and what it means to be a great place to work. Since March last year, we have all worked remotely, and it’s the technology connecting us that’s allowed us to prosper as a business, despite sometimes being thousands of miles apart. Technology has a huge role to play in being a great place to work, and it’s time to look more closely at exactly how to best utilise it for that.

Technology that enables your team’s communication

It’s a cliché at this point, but the pandemic has truly changed the way we work forever. Webex, Teams, Zoom – these are the primary ways companies are communicating now, and with hybrid work being employee’s preference, it’s likely to remain so. Great places to work are those that foster strong relationships between junior and senior members of staff. Open communication, where team members feel free to discuss and collaborate is the cornerstone of any workplace, whether a business has 5 or 5000 employees. If senior team members aren’t in the office and are utilising technology solutions that limit their accessibility to the wider business, morale drops, and resentment builds an ‘us and them’ mentality that quickly becomes a toxic work culture.

To avoid this, choosing technology that makes it easy for staff to check in on each other, host virtual socials and allow everyone to be reasonably reachable is critically important. Communication tools such as Webex or Teams, that blend smooth video conferencing, events calendars and emails into one accessible platform are the best way to ensure your business remains a great place to work, wherever your team are working from.

“I joined Logicalis in February of this year, after more than 20 years with my previous company. It was never going to be easy joining a new organisation right in the middle of a global pandemic, but despite this, the on-boarding process was slick and efficient. I received my laptop by courier a few days before my start date, and, with one or two minor exceptions, I was able to easily set it up and be ready to start work. As the leader of a fairly large team, my next challenge was how to engage with my team members without being able to actually meet them face to face. In fact, almost 6 months later, I have still not physically met many of my team. This is where the power of technology and specifically collaboration tools become so important. Using a variety of tools, including Webex and MS Teams, I have been able to engage with colleagues and customers very effectively in both 1-2-1 and 1-2-many environments. The world has changed forever over the past 18 months, with work now truly being something you do, not somewhere you go. I’m delighted to say that Logicalis have embraced this ethos and made it very easy for me to integrate into the organisation, despite significant challenges.” – Rob Price, Digital Infrastructure Practice Director, UK&I.

Avoiding burnout and ensuring wellness through technology

As well as isolating sections of teams from each other, inaccessible and difficult technology platforms can cause a considerable amount of stress. We’ve all experienced what it’s like when data gets corrupted, messages don’t send, and documents go missing. With remote work meaning that a short walk to someone’s desk is now an email or a phone call, solving these problems can take serious time and effort out of your day.

Productivity and engagement are crucial to running a great place to work, and studies have shown that problematic IT can lower employee productivity up to 40%.

Ensuring your data is stored in a secure, fast and easily accessible place is central to creating a productive and enjoyable place to work. Many companies have moved to the cloud over the pandemic and seen the benefits of regular data backups and constant security maintenance that come built-in with many cloud solutions. On-premises systems can deliver the same benefits provided you work with a company to help set up and maintain your storage and network needs. Reliable, safe storage coupled with a fast and consistent network reduces the risk of burnout and keeps the whole team feeling relaxed and productive.

“With the help of the technology already in place we've maximised how we work remotely and continued to ensure our people experience is maintained despite the challenging climate. We’ve used technology to our advantage at all points of the Logicalis lifecycle. Our interviews, induction and onboarding are all able to take place remotely. Our Workday platform enables people to set their goals and check in on their progress, all using technology which encourages both individual and manager collaboration. We've been able to run training, webinars, all hands calls and strategy kick offs, reaching a geographically diverse workforce, ensuring a consistent approach no matter where your work from home setting might be. The pandemic has affected everyone in a different way, and we know that for people to bring their best selves to work, they need to be supported through their individual experiences. We offer an Employee Assistance Programme accessible 24/7 alongside inhouse support channels. Our employee success platform gives us a huge amount of feedback that everyone can contribute to, so even though we're not physically together we're able to keep in touch, check in and proactively look to the future to continue and improve.” – Kate Gummer, Learning and Development Manager.

Remote work is here to stay

Only 7 percent of UK workers want to return to the 9-5, Monday to Friday schedule of the past. At Logicalis, we have seen this as well, and it seems we will all be readjusting to hybrid schedules for the foreseeable future.

As well as continued home working, many companies will adapt by reducing office spaces, or perhaps no office going ahead. Managing complicated IT networks across the home, office and potential off-premises server locations is expensive and time consuming for in-house IT managers. As well as hiring staff and staying secure in a risky cyber environment, the constant maintenance and changing security demand can overwhelm even the most prominent companies that go at it alone.

Technology will also help us all get back to the office, whether for one or five days a week. Many businesses will now operate using hot desks, as we have seen with Deliotte, Microsoft, and Sky, to allow for social distancing measures. Mobile desk booking systems will become the norm and allow employers to identify office workers for track and trace. Our journey with COVID-19 will not be over soon, so organisations need to use technology to help us live with it.

Part of the unknown around home working is the longer-term effects of physically disconnected teams. In traditional office scenarios, it's much easier to identify if anyone is struggling, whether with work or something personal. Engaging with employees on more challenging subjects is not as easy remotely, so organisations need to adapt communication methods to fit the working environment. At Logicalis, we have taken steps to make sure our employees feel supported and have access to professional help should they require it. The onboarding of mental health first aiders is an example of this.

Another step businesses should look to take is the better use of structured people engagement through technology. Historically, companies have been very good at using online systems to support processes such as setting up new employees on payrolls, booking holidays etc. But, with a remote workforce, organisations now need to make sure they are being used as part of an employment journey with regular development reviews and plans. Using tools such as Workday, Cascade or Oracle  is critical in providing organisations with a structure and single view point of the journey.

In addition to structured people engagement through technology, companies also need access to employee feedback. Employees working from home or remotely, need to be able to give feedback, without the reassuring backdrop of an office or a tight group of colleagues. Peakon is a fabulous tool to provide regular feedback that is confidential, allowing teams to be honest. Being honest is harder to do when working from home, especially for employees who are new to the role and have never met the team face to face before. Part of a growing culture is listening – and to be honest, that's the most important part of it!

Partnering with an experienced services provider like Logicalis allows you to leave the complicated and expensive IT challenges in the hands of experts while you focus on growing out of the pandemic. I’m incredibly proud that through our expertise and technology, Logicalis can help more and more businesses be great places to work every single day.