There is no denying it: small businesses must operate drastically different than large enterprises. However, the age of technology has brought about a great equalizer to the business world and guided us to a world where it takes a computer to run a business of any size in any industry. Virtually all businesses require some sort of technology to effectively operate. This transition has led to a more technically savvy workforce and outcome driven employees whom expect to work with modern technology. When these expectations are not met, technology can have an effect on job satisfaction and employee retention rates.
For small businesses the fact that employee morale can now directly be hindered by the technology solutions that they provide can be concerning, as smaller budgets often mean technology upgrades are put off until they are absolutely necessary. However, there are options for tech upgrades that boost employee morale while not completely destroying your budget.
Tech Upgrades that Improve Employee Morale
Adopt a BYOD Policy
Giving employees control over their devices, in many cases, can dramatically improve employee morale and productivity, with many feeling more confident and innovative on their own devices. In fact, one recent study found that 45% of employees felt that their personal consumer devices were more useful to their jobs than the tools and applications provided by their IT departments.
Provide Cloud-based File Sharing
Cloud-based File Sharing solutions also greatly improve employee morale through providing an increased way to share and collaborate on documents. This can be especially true for departments or professionals who have to work on extremely large file sizes as a part of their regular business activities. Cloud file sharing and syncing allow employees to collaborate on documents from any device that has internet access, without compromising business security.
Provide Teleworking Policies
The research around teleworking and employee morale is staggering. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics reports that as many as 36% of American employees would choose flexible teleworking policies over a raise. Many of the technical upgrades that would be required to support teleworking are affordable and can be implemented quickly.
Provide Cloud-based or VOIP Phone System
This one may seem a little different than the others, but cloud-based phone solutions offer increased flexibility that employees find attractive. The settings with how cloud telephony solutions operate give users much more control over their phone systems. This allows them to perform actions such as forwarding their calls to their mobile device or creating customized answering rules.
Provide Multiple Monitors
When considering new tech upgrades that boost employee morale, providing multiple monitors should not be overlooked as a viable option. It’s a widely accepted fact that providing users with multiple monitors increases productivity. However, multiple monitors also affect user satisfaction according to some studies.
Provide Wearable Fitness Devices
Another great tech upgrade to boost employee morale would be to provide wearable fitness devices to employees. Many organizations such as FitBit provide solutions specifically aimed at corporate wellness campaigns. You can also make this a game by splitting employees up into teams and competing on number of steps taken in a week.
Increase Internet Speed
Nothing is more frustrating than slow Internet. Especially when it is hindering your ability to do your job. Increasing the speed at which your employees are working while online will limit their perception that they are wasting half their day waiting on files to download or pages to open. Consider upgrading your wireless network to the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. This standard is expected to dominate the market for the next decade and will iteratively improve to meet changing networking requirements.
Put a TV or Gaming Console in the Break Room
This one may seem counter-intuitive to getting employees to be happier and more effective in their work. However, studies show that extended periods of work without a mental break can actually reduce an employee’s ability perform. One study showed that a “microbreak” or a break that is between 30 seconds and 5 minutes in length can improve mental acuity by an average of 13%.
Provide Treadmill Desk Stations
We are all pretty familiar with research that shows that adults, on average, need to exercise more. Providing treadmill desk stations provide your employees with an outlet that can help them to stay active while they are working. This will boost morale on multiple fronts. For one thing, employees will be all around more energetic and positive as they will be receiving more exercise during the day. However, they will also be encouraged by the fact that their place of employment cares about their overall health, not just the work that they provide.
Have a Monthly Office Gadget Competition
Think of this as an “employee of the month” competition that provides more for your employees than a paper plaque for their desk. Instead of the same-old options, consider having an office gadget that you award to the winner each month. We have a number of gadget options that we like for this:
Solar Powered Chargers
Solar powered USB chargers not only provide your employees with the ability to take a working lunch on a park bench without having to worry about power. Solar chargers provide power for a variety of devices and will never have to be plugged into the wall. Not only that, but they are extraordinarily environmentally friendly and can help to reduce the carbon footprint of your office. Just make sure that you know what type of devices will be supported so that the chargers you buy provide the right output voltage.
As technology continues to evolve, the standard that businesses operate on should as well. Continuing to provide an innovative way to collaborate will let your employees know that you are considering their needs as well. If none of these ideas work for you, ask your employees! They will be happy to know that you are thinking of ways to improve their work environment.