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The New Regular: Lenovo study offers insights into worker productivity

Disclosure:  Lenovo is really a client of the writer.

Among the reasons vendors do surveys would be to get yourself a sense of the proceedings in the minds of buyers and users of these products.  Given the recent changes the marketplace has undergone recently, it should be no real surprise that users and buyers come in vastly different places than these were at the start of the entire year.

Lenovo’s recent study talks about how work tools and styles are rapidly evolving and explores advantages – and challenges ­– tech offers. It highlights the recent impact of increased home based and what most frustrates users.

The scholarly study involved 20,262 online respondents between May 8-14 across 10 markets – U.S., Brazil, Mexico, U.K., France, Germany, Italy, China, Japan and india.  With a diverse sample set surveyed after most pandemic shutdowns have been implemented, it should give a relatively accurate view of the planet since it currently exists from the perspective of tech users.

Though it’s made to help Lenovo build better future products primarily, the total email address details are interesting.

What the survey shows

We spend a whole lot of time making certain our offices are ergonomically correct, but homes haven’t undergone exactly the same changes.  People, at the very least those that didn’t have home offices, will work out of dens, kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, garages, and basements.  And I doubt many that have home offices experienced them reviewed by an ergonomics expert.

Health requires a hit

Globally, 32% of respondents cited back pains, 28% noted worsening posture, 27% saw a rise in neck pains, 18% pointed to wrist and hand pain and 22% reported more headaches (likely from lighting and screen proximity). That’s not absolutely all. Homes don’t have exactly the same filtration as offices, and 21% of respondents reported dry, burning or itchy eyes (maybe because they’re spending far more indoor time with pets, too).  Finally, stress is going for a toll, with 21% reporting difficulty sleeping (and outright insomnia), and 19% reporting a rise in fatigue.

Technology is responding, but…

It is interesting to notice that technology is apparently adapting to COVID-19 as 56% reported that their tools had are more intuitive and user-friendly.

Folks are realizing their skills are outdated also, with an impressive 65% reporting they have to improve tech skills and 40% afraid they couldn’t match the ongoing changes.  Reports about  company response were favorable mostly, though 44% said their firm didn’t have the resources they have to do their jobs, suggesting an obvious drag on revenues.  As you may expect with a push toward more robotics and automation, 39% fear they’ll be replaced by technology. Several folks are likely already searching for new jobs and will be well-served by aggressive retraining and management communication that lets them know their actual risk.

Tech shortfalls and work-from-home issues

The next segment centered on tech concerns, and 32% said that their No. 1 concern is that they’re more susceptible to data hacking and breaches.  (Considering that working at home effectively makes everyone more vulnerable, this statistic shows that most are unaware of these increased risks, so it’s likely almost all isn’t taking adequate precautions.  Video conferencing has been linked to poor advancement and relevance always, but only 23% of employees note that is really a problem.

As you’ll expect, 23% indicated that they’re having difficulty maintaining a work/life balance and staying focused.  With so many kids in the home, I’m surprised this number isn’t higher. As you’ll expect, a considerable contingent, 22%, is having problems with the rate of change, and 20% blame technology because of their distractions. There’s a lack of trust aswell; 18% think their boss is spying in it (and they’re probably right).

Despite those complaints, only 16% said technology itself is distracting, and an impressive 84% indicated it’s helping them better focus and become more productive actually.

When asked in what technology they use, respondents cited smartphones (68%), laptop PCs (64%), and desktop PCs (62%) pretty equally. While 42% use dedicated conferencing technology (I understand from prior work that helps them remain more productive), the usage of virtual assistants remains small. But at 17%, these assistants remain a substantial area of the toolset respondents depend on.

Barriers to product and adoption satisfaction

Barriers to tech adoption are widespread: 25% say training on technology is really a problem, 23% say their company has been too slow to look at new things, and 22% feel their firm isn’t budgeting for needed technology changes. Furthermore, 21% think management has gone out of touch with employee needs and 20% see their company in financial distress and struggling to afford what’s needed. Fully 19% (employees) and 17% (managers) actively resisting technology changes.

Alternatively, employees seem to just like the technology they’ve been given: 74% are pleased with their desktop computers, 79% are pleased with their laptops, 71% are pleased with their tablets, and 80% like their smartphones. They like their video conferencing tools even, with 69% indicating they’re pleased with what’s been provided.

The largest pain points for laptops may problem: battery life (cited by 33%) and processing power (25%). For desktops, the most important issues were processing power and device age (because companies have a tendency to replace desktops less often than laptops).  Smartphone issues involved battery life (37%), data storage (22%), connectivity (21%), performance (21%), screen size (17%) and security (17%).  (Overall, 45% of respondents were extremely or very worried about security – with regards to personal data particularly.)

Sadly, an impressive 79% feel they’ve had to become their very own IT person, and 62% feel they have to have separate devices for personal and work-related activities.  (This likely plays a part in their should do their very own IT work.)  When once the pandemic over is, 52% feel they’ll continue steadily to work more from your home.

Looking to the future

Looking ahead, 74% see virtual reality (and 83% indicate 5G) as having a material effect on their work on the next couple of years.  They see augmented reality coming also.

Finally, when asked what tech companies could do out to greatly help employees and executives, 34% want  products which are simpler to use; 33% need more training on the various tools they use; another 33% want better usage of technology; 32% want cheaper alternatives; 31% sought more frequent software updates; and  30% want more tech longevity. Around 25 % of the respondents want faster customer support, help with data analysis, better engagement making use of their decision-makers, more personalized offerings, and want vendors with stronger buyback, refurbishment and trade-in programs.

Wrapping up

The good news out of this survey is that a lot of employees are coping pretty much with the brand new normal.  The bad news is a great number remain unhappy with the various tools they’ve been given, unhappy with management, have become less healthy, and discover the problem and tools are affecting their job satisfaction, loyalty, and job performance.

These results suggest there’s a significant unmet market chance of a focused customizable (by employee) service.  This service would equip and ensure that workers&rsquo comprehensively; home environments better match working out and tools they receive making use of their unique job and personal requirements.

I would expect a substantial vendor to launch this type of ongoing service before year-end, and since Lenovo did the survey, I wouldn’t be surprised if the ongoing service originated from them.

Let’s see if I’m right.

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