New research from electronics company Ricoh has shown that sub-standard technology has eroded company culture since the outbreak of COVID-19 as a third (31%) of employees at mid-sized companies said communication and tech problems have contributed to their lack of motivation and engagement.
A further 42% said their company culture has suffered since the pandemic started and two-thirds (65%) said they miss working with colleagues face to face.
With the direct impact tech is having on people since more have been working from home, the report suggested digital transformation has become more of an HR priority, and it has climbed up the corporate agenda.
“More than ever, HR leaders have the power to truly shape an organisation’s direction and play a make-or-break role in its success,” Caroline Bright, SVP marketing at Ricoh Europe, wrote in the report.
“Seizing this opportunity requires an in-depth understanding of what the workforce wants, and the technologies people need to flourish in the digital age,” she added.
External factors, such as family responsibilities have also made remote working more stressful for employees, and 30% said they have felt pressured by their employer to be online more often.
Despite this, the majority of respondents (57%) said they feel less stressed working at home as they avoid factors like the commute, and most (73%) are keen to develop their remote skills so that they would be able to work from anywhere.
HR’s role therefore should be one that bridges the gap between the right technology and employee experience.
Speaking to HR magazine Rebekah Wallis, director of people and corporate responsibility at Ricoh UK, said: “When working remotely and geographically distanced from colleagues, you have to double your usual efforts to ensure a personalised experience is still possible.”
Regular check-ins asking for employee feedback on motivation and engagement levels, she said, is the only way to do that.
“The fact is that, while technology can be an incredible thing which can connect and unite us, without a human approach, it can do the opposite and instead isolate and distance individuals from one another,” Wallis added.
“Businesses should use technology to foster an environment of support and collaboration and remember it should be looked at as an enabler rather than a foundation.”