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Buy bad, Buy twice: Exploring Increased Investment in Homeworking bundles

As we approach the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 forcing the UK and other countries into strict lockdown measures, we all know in great detail about the impact it has had on our working lives. We’ve read about and discussed at length the requirement for organisations to enable immediate, widespread homeworking, and we’re all very pleased that the argument for a more flexible approach is now near impossible for even the stuffiest of businesses to ignore.

Much of the commentary around COVID-19 has focused on one moment, at 8.30pm on 23rd March 2020: “From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.”

With those words, the Prime Minister changed how we live and work indefinitely. Few could predict that 12 months later we’d be in our third national lockdown, with organisations throughout the UK no longer reacting but proactively planning to turn the benefits of remote work into permanent policies that will redefine how, where, and when we work, as well as the role of the physical office.

Increasing investment in peripherals

One of the things SCC has noticed change throughout the pandemic is the level of investment organisations are making in IT hardware and, importantly, office peripherals. Back in spring 2020, even the most basic of devices became difficult to source and, outside of the IT channel, private sellers were taking advantage of the pandemic by adding obscene mark-ups to laptops, webcams, headsets, and other equipment critical to operating a home office.

Organisations were left with little alternative but to buy large volumes quickly, which meant, understandably for many, cost was driving buying decisions. Under the circumstances, we’d expect nothing else. However, the longer the crisis has gone on, the more SCC has observed a shift in buying habits.

Interestingly, the specification of peripheral items has increased – and so in turn has the investment – with organisations understanding that if you buy bad, you buy twice. It has become clear that productivity is significantly increased by making sure homeworkers have the right kit to enable them to do their jobs properly, rather than simply the best entry level items available in bulk.

Organisations are increasingly willing to spend more as they get to grips with the likelihood of long-term, even permanent homeworking, which is evidenced by a growing cost per unit for home office technology measured over the past year. There are multiple benefits to improving the specification of the equipment you provide your employees.

The right tools for the job

Security – Much has been made about the security implications of enforced homeworking. We all know that the biggest risk to IT security is human negligence, but shadow IT dramatically increases the risk to organisations. Providing the appropriate homeworking technology stops people from procuring what they need privately and introducing invisible risk to the corporate IT network.

Culture – One of the benefits of attending the office in person is the ability to foster a corporate culture. Communication is important but so is the sense that you’re all operating as one. Shared experiences, including the type of hardware used throughout the organisation, will help ensure your people remain feeling part of the organisation and culture.

Compatibility – Another benefit to uniformed IT with a specification fit for purpose is cross-device compatibility. If you define the hardware and peripherals being used, it makes remote support easier and removes some of the strain on already overburdened IT teams.

Productivity – Give your people the right tools for the job and they will do the job better and quicker. Simple.

Wellbeing – It’s even harder to reward your staff remotely. Attracting and retaining the best talent has long been a challenge for all sectors. Providing high-spec, high-performance IT equipment might just make all the difference to new and existing employees and their enjoyment of the homeworking experience during challenging times.

Credibility – Virtual meetings are just as physical ones – with even more that could go wrong. Poor video or sound quality and under-performing devices do not represent your company well.

Level up remote working with homeworking bundles

As recently as ten years ago, a pandemic such as COVID-19 would have wiped hundreds more businesses off the face of the earth. Remote working would not have been possible, nor the long-term opportunity that has arisen from the necessity to rethink the future of the office. With organisations looking to level up remote working and empower people to perform from anywhere, at any time, homeworking bundles, including the best laptop devices and peripherals, are critical.

This doesn’t mean you have to invest in the most expensive homeworking bundles. Sometimes higher-priced features such as HD cameras and noise-cancelling headphones are not necessary or appropriate. The opportunity for all organisations is to assess and understand what is appropriate to improve efficiency and maintain productivity for the long-term, with remote working here to stay.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SCC has supported customers across all sectors, helping them adapt to changing circumstances and make the right decisions to enable a successful shift to homeworking. We work with over 50 strategic partners across the world, giving us access to the best technologies and expertise – and we can help you create the right homeworking bundles for your organisation.

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