Last updateSat, 24 Oct 2020 2pm

Technology frustration: small businesses risk losing their best talent

More than a quarter of the workforce in small European companies would move to a company better equipped for remote work.

A large number of small businesses are not yet adequately equipped with remote working technologies, according to a new study by Ricoh Europe: the probability of European small businesses losing employees due to frustration with the technical requirements for remote work is 42 per cent higher than in large companies.
While small businesses are currently recovering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, workers increasingly expect their employers to provide modern and flexible working arrangements. The new Ricoh study, which surveyed 1,300 office workers across Europe, shows that almost a third (27%) of respondents in European small businesses are considering changing jobs.
Other key findings of the study:
Over two thirds (69%) of respondents said they had the skills needed for remote working.
However, almost a third (29%) of respondents also said that they find it difficult to stay motivated and engaged in the home office due to communication and technology issues.
In addition, just under a quarter (22%) of respondents said they felt less productive because of these limitations.
Almost half (48%) of those surveyed reported that they were dependent on their private technical equipment to work from their home office because their company did not provide them with the equipment they needed.
These technical deficits not only pose a risk for retaining talent. What is worrying is that at this time when growth is crucial, a quarter of respondents report that they do not have the necessary resources to achieve the best results for customers or to communicate effectively with their team from the home office.
Despite the problems associated with teleworking, employees in small businesses will not fully return to their offices in the foreseeable future. When asked about future policies for remote work in their company, 41 per cent of respondents said that they believe their employer will enable them to work remotely by the end of 2020. Over a third (34%) of respondents thought that it could possibly continue indefinitely.
But employees in small businesses expect more than that from their employers. Two thirds (66%) hope to retain the flexibility they gained during the lockdown. More than half (55%) trust that their company will invest in technology that will meet future job requirements. Making offices more secure is one of these requirements. 40% of workers surveyed said they would be reluctant to return to work if no additional security measures were taken, such as temperature measurement devices or contactless office equipment.
David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, says: "Small businesses may have already had the digital transformation on their agenda, but now they have no time to lose. Without technologies that allow employees to work easily and securely from any location, companies risk losing their brightest minds. Organisations are driven by the skills and quality of their workforce - losing them to the competition often means losing customers. Old ways of working must therefore no longer be the norm. Getting away with poor equipment and backward processes is not good enough for companies. The next steps of small businesses will determine how they can overcome problems and pave the way for future success.



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