While employees at small and medium businesses (SMBs) across Asia prefer devices that are mobile, flexible, and inclusive, a new study by Lenovo shows that SMB employers are still behind in offering these solutions — desktops persist as the primary device for 73% of employees, while fewer than 25% are able to access cloud-based tools that could enable more diverse working styles.
The study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, surveyed more than 750 SMB employees and device buyers across seven markets in Asia.
“Customer experience is critically linked to employee experience,” said Michael Ngan, general manager, Lenovo Philippines. “In other words, happier customers come from happier employees. That means SMBs can gain competitive advantage by ensuring today’s diverse employees can work in a style that suits them best. However, our new study reveals that while 78% of Asia’s SMBs say they want employee experience to be a high or critical priority, there is still a strong need for them to put more focus on what makes a difference in employees’ working lives: the quality of the technology they use every day.”
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A key finding from the study was that there is a strong correlation between productivity and employees’ overall satisfaction at work, with technology being a key factor in enabling productivity. While 75% of productive employees are satisfied with their devices or IT support, the figure for unproductive employees is approximately a third.
Device failures and downtime have been shown to hinder the effectiveness of technology in the workplace, with 36% of employees having to replace their devices due to features and functionalities not supporting their work requirements. Device issues also ranked in the top three daily distractions for more than a third of all employees. Basic problems such as long loading time and slow file transfers (35%), outdated software or systems (29%), and device crashes or freezes (28%) were highlighted as the top three issues faced by SMB employees.
A separate Lenovo study found that with millennials and Gen Z making up nearly 60% of the workforce today, these technologically savvy employees often expect companies to offer them “go anywhere” PC options. More than a quarter of Asian SMB employees have displayed an interest in exploring more form factors and types of devices such as 2-in-1s and tablets in the workplace.
Today’s SMB employers are still over-optimistic about their ability to provide a positive experience at work. While 77% of employers believe that their company offers a good employee experience, only 55% of employees felt satisfied at work. This perception gap was particularly evident in Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The survey also revealed a strong gap between employers and employees in terms of how they understand productivity: while 74% of SMBs in Asia say they are already enabling a productive work environment, only 60% of their employees concurred.
According to the study conducted by Forrester, only 15% of IT decision makers considered their employees’ point of view when making purchase decisions. The Lenovo study found that only 10% of device buyers took a product’s look and feel into consideration — a missed opportunity to improve employee satisfaction, especially product design is important to today’s new workforce.
“SMBs should aim to provide what employees will need, not only today but in the years to come,” said Ngan, “Employees want to be more mobile and flexible at work in general, and it is up to SMB decision-makers to make informed decisions on which solutions will best meet their needs now and in the future. To respond to the rising demands of employees at SMBs, we have introduced ThinkBook 14 and ThinkBook 15, business-oriented laptops that balance design and performance. The devices are designed to improve employee experience, and to deliver business-grade performance coupled with easy-to-use security housed in a stylish aluminium finish.”