People who feel good while doing their job tend to work better, contribute more and stick around longer. Of course this principle is nothing new – especially with regards to professional workers. Keep people happy and the business benefits from the increased ongoing productivity and the reduced time and money spent on recruitment.
The tools we're given to do our jobs can definitely have an effect on our happiness in the workplace. These days it tends to revolve around technology – whether it be hardware, software or services. Being stuck using old, inadequate or inflexible kit can be time consuming and/or mentally draining thereby reducing productivity and morale.
Being issued the right tech, especially if it aligns with your personal preference, can make a huge difference - even providing a feeling of control and for some, inspiration.
This is not to say you should pander to users. While the feel good factor is important, it should not be created at the expense of cost and risk management.
There does, however, seem to be a link between device-related policy and the recruitment and retention of staff. In a recent research study on End User Computing we asked respondents their views on whether offering desirable devices and/or a BYOD programme is becoming necessary to recruit and retain good staff.
While just under a quarter of people dismissed any influence of device-related offerings, the opinions of the other respondents varied - ranging from approximately 40% seeing it as a minor factor, through 25% regarding it as one of a number of important factors, to almost one in 10 seeing it as a major factor. What this means is while the majority don't think the influence is very strong, it is there.
However, this is not just limited to recruitment – nearly 40% of respondents indicate that employees have a high level of influence when it comes to the way in which their end user computing environment is evolving. Furthermore, over 50% say that the user influence is getting stronger.
Therefore, having the right IT infrastructure in place to support more choice of company equipment and/or the use of personal devices for business can therefore have real value going forward. In the short term, the link between employees feeling good and working more effectively will come into play. In the long run, this infrastructure can also give you the ability to respond to changes in the market and your workforce's needs quickly and efficiently, having a positive effect on business operations in general.
From a practical perspective you need to deal with integration, monitoring and management requirements. Vendors offer all sorts of software and services to help with this, though the market is still quite immature. Working through the options and implementing the appropriate mix of technology can be challenging. However, it's important to create the right environment sooner rather than later. You'll also need appropriate policies and mechanisms in place to train users.
It's advisable to firm up on what makes sense for your business early on in this process. To begin with, look at your workforce and sort your employees into groups based on their needs and roles. Once this has been achieved you can make decisions on how much flexibility to give each group when it comes to picking devices and upgrading thereafter, taking into account the rate at which ever more desirable devices appear on the market. Working through such considerations is just as important as the technology related decisions you make.