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Home » Future of work » Quality audio is critical to today’s hybrid worker

Jane Craven

Sales Director UK & Ireland, EPOS Audio

Technology is at the heart of a new standard of professionalism demanded by hybrid working. Businesses want audio and video solutions to help maintain standards, while benefitting from a mix of remote and office-based working.

The impact the events of the last year have had on our professional lives cannot be underestimated. Eighteen months ago, the idea of a truly hybrid workplace was exciting but unlikely to happen soon. Fast forward to today, hybrid working is our new normal.

However, with fewer ways to “show up well” with clients, there is increased emphasis placed on the quality of what is said during virtual business interactions. This poses a risk to organisations who aren’t utilising the right collaboration tools and audio solutions.

Research from Ipsos commissioned by EPOS, found that an alarming 63% of global end users experience issues during business conversations on a regular basis because of poor audio quality. The most common problems include background noise (32%), interferences on the line (26%) and having to repeat themselves (23%).

Client expectations have grown

Last year, organisations could get away with seemingly minor audio glitches. Almost every working professional experienced the stress of subpar virtual communications and that’s why, for a while, there was a level of patience. But as the world has not only acclimatised to, but embraced virtual working, expectations have increased as the bar has raised.

Bad audio is no longer simply a minor inconvenience. It is a barrier to professionalism that can harm perception and the client experience. If addressed, it would help retain clients and prevent lost pitches according to 60% and 71% of global decision makers respectively.

68% of modern workers believe that good audio solutions can help solve a lack of confidence or embarrassment.

Technology built for the office simply doesn’t suit a hybrid set-up. Yet, the default approach for many employers has been to maintain the status quo: equip employees with the same computer and audio tech that was initially available for remote working.

One explanation for this might be the disparity between decision makers and employees’ expectations of hybrid working. More than half (52%) of decision makers expect employees to work more from the workplace in the future, compared with employees – just 18% expect an increase in time spent in a physical office.

This gap demonstrates the need for decision makers to better understand employee expectations and identify resources to help. This means using technology that maintains the same quality as in-person interactions.

Unleash the potential of the hybrid professional

Trying to use pre-existing tools have left many employees struggling to maintain productivity. The time spent fixing audio issues amounts to 31 minutes per employee weekly. This leaves 26% of global employees feeling frustrated, irritated, or annoyed; and 19% experiencing moments of stress. Unsurprisingly, this has a detrimental impact on output with 26% of end users reporting misunderstandings, 21% miss out on critical information and a further 17% say they appear unprofessional because of their audio.

Every organisation knows how critical employee wellbeing is to the success of the business. When employees lack confidence in their abilities, this limits the potential for idea-sharing. Particularly in a hybrid world, where many team members might not have met face-to-face.

Without spontaneous interactions between colleagues in the office, it’s harder to exchange ideas that drive innovation. In fact, 68% of modern workers believe that good audio solutions can help solve a lack of confidence or embarrassment.

Turn up the volume on the future of work

Virtual collaboration has become a key component of hybrid working. Whether employees return to the office full-time or part-time, there will be an ongoing need to dial in remote working colleagues. If businesses can use the right technology to support them, there’s an opportunity to overcome the barriers posed by poor audio and create truly borderless teams. It won’t matter whether teams are working together physically and/or collaborating via video conferencing.

Good audio quality ensures everyone’s voice is heard and gives them the confidence to share new ideas with colleagues across the globe.

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