Recent global disruptions have resulted in a rapid evolution of the workplace and major shifts in the way we live and work over the past few months. The number of employees working from home increased from 5% to 60% in a matter of weeks1. Naturally, this drastic change brought about a new set of challenges for organizations.
Besides a physical change in the work environment, employees have had to adapt to new modes of communication, adjust to changes in workstation equipment and navigate physical distractions – all of which can affect employee productivity and contribute to stress.
As companies move into an extended period of remote work and rethink their workplace polices, maintaining a consistently positive employee experience is key to maximizing long-term productivity in a remote work setting. Supporting employees with the right technology and tools is a critical first step.
Investing in the right tools for remote work
At a time when employees need the most help staying focused and productive, many suffer from reduced productivity due to less-than-ideal home office setups. New Forrester research commissioned by Dell revealed that users were twice more likely to report a downgrade in productivity following the shift to a new working environment. Why?
- 38% have switched computing devices while working from home. For instance, laptop use has gone up by 70% due to many office workers switching from a desktop PC to a laptop — creating a cognitive drain as workers get used to a new device.
- 37% of workers report a downgrade in the specifications of the monitors they use at home. As an example, switching from using dual monitors in the office to a single monitor (smaller than 24”) at home, or moving from a larger monitor to a smaller monitor or laptop screen.
Employers therefore should consider investing in empowering workers with the right devices and accessories to ensure they are set up for success in their remote work environment.
External peripherals offer productivity boost and user comfort
An easy way to improve employee productivity is to equip laptop users with a monitor, keyboard and mouse so they can see more and work across several applications faster.
We recently commissioned a study by Hot Tech to figure out if we could quantify those productivity benefits. In the study, various monitor configurations were tested to find out the potential productivity benefits by increasing screen area and incorporating full-sized input devices into the user experience.
What we found was that by adding a 27-inch monitor, keyboard and mouse, user productivity increased by nearly 38% versus using a laptop alone. Moreover, upgrading to a 34-inch QHD curved monitor with keyboard and mouse increased productivity by 42% compared to using only a laptop.
With USB Type-C® technology, users can also streamline connectivity between the monitor and their laptop, potentially saving up to 20 hours of time wasted annually2 on having multiple cables and inefficient connectivity options.
Time savings are just one side of the picture; adding a monitor and external input devices to a laptop also unlocks various benefits on user comfort. It can result in less fatigue and increased comfort, which can allow employees to work more comfortably for extended periods and potentially lower the risk of compounding stress.
Recommendations in summary
Employee safety is a top priority for businesses around the world and many companies will continue offering remote work arrangements for the foreseeable future.
With the new research in mind, here are key considerations for decision-makers looking to strengthen employee experience and boost productivity for their remote workforce:
- Provide equipment upgrades and outfit the employee home workspace appropriately as an extension of the office.
- Select the right monitors and accessories for each worker to maximize productivity.
- Revisit space planning in the office to safely accommodate the onset of more virtual meetings, including socially distanced workspaces and modular meeting spaces that allow employees to connect and collaborate with colleagues.
1 Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographics® Workforce Benchmark Survey, 2019.
2 IDC Infobrief: Future of Work – Embracing New Dynamics, Creating New Experiences, September 2019. Full report.