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2023 IT Workplace Trends: UK

The latest IT workplace trends and insights into what 2024 may hold.

Introduction

Technology changes fast, and the way we work has drastically evolved. Employees are working from everywhere, which means the job of the IT professional has become more demanding. When working in the world of IT, it goes without saying that it's important to stay on top of the latest trends to combat the long list of tickets and requests headed your way. To lighten your load, we gathered our top IT workplace trends from 2023 so that you know what items should be a priority for your 2024 to-do list.

This data was collected in June 2023, when Owl Labs surveyed 2,000 full-time workers in the United Kingdom, ages 18+, at companies with 2+ employees.

Section 1

The physical workplace

Today’s working environment exists in two worlds - the physical and the virtual. Let’s start with the physical. Think conference room equipment, hybrid meeting room setups, video conferencing hardware, teleconferencing solutions, and more. With office policies changing left and right, it’s hard to know what hardware and software will work for everyone. In the office, it’s important to have easy-to-use, plug-and-play tech that helps those in the room connect with those who aren’t. In fact, 72% of workers said that good technology was “very important” or “important” to their working life. Have you updated your meeting room tech? No? Don’t worry; you’re not alone.

Another major factor for in-office tech needs is when people are in the office. With many offices shifting to an unstructured hybrid environment (when employees can work from the office anytime they’d like) or a structured hybrid environment (when employees are required to work from the office a select number of days per week), it can be hard to understand when you’ll be most needed. This presents another challenge for in-office tech needs.

Who’s in the office? Most hybrid workers are in the office two days a week.

0% 20% 40% 60% 19% 44% 28% 9% 1 day1 day2 days2 days3 days3 days4 days4 days
72%
Good tech is important. 72% of workers say good technology is very important or important to their working life.
12%
With better tech comes more attendance. 12% of workers said that they would be enticed to come to the office if there were better meeting technology.
25%

Upgrade your tech. Only 25% of employers have upgraded their video meeting technology in the past year.

Section 2

The virtual workplace

The virtual workplace can be tricky. It’s hard to anticipate or understand employees' needs and challenges without physically seeing them, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less critical. If anything, it means it’s more critical. Proximity bias is alive and well in the virtual workplace. In 2023, 45% of employees are concerned that managers view those in the office as harder working and more trustworthy than their remote counterparts, and another 44% are concerned that working remotely will mean they have less of a say at work and miss out on opportunities. The right technology may be the only thing that can help bridge this divide.

The technology you use to create your virtual workplace (whether it’s communication platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams or collaboration tools like Notion or Monday) is extremely important and will dictate how employees work - but it also comes with a cost. Cutting down the number of platforms in use not only saves the bottom line, it can also streamline communications across departments.

One trend that has been popularized in 2023 is tracking software. With the pushback that many employers have received from their return-to-office mandates, many companies have installed software to track their employees' activities, whether they’re in the office or not. This is a slippery slope, and IT may get caught in the crossfire between employers and employees.

Learn more about employees’ preferences in what they value in a virtual workplace. Have employers surveyed employees regarding their remote/hybrid work experience or preferences?

Yes (45%)
No (45%)
Not sure (10%)
48%
Too many platforms, not enough time. 48% of respondents feel that their company uses too many communication platforms.
36%

Are employees being watched? Over a third (36%) of employers added or increased employee activity tracking or monitoring software in 2023.

42%
Be careful. 42% of workers feel that having their work activities monitored affects them at work.

Section 3

When two worlds collide

Now that we have covered the physical and virtual workplace trends, let’s look at what happens when the two worlds collide. This primarily happens in meetings - something we all love to hate. In 2023, the majority of employees reported things like audio/sound issues, not being able to see everyone on the call, and not being able to contribute due to ineffective tech. 82% of workers even reported losing time in meetings due to technical difficulties. While these issues may not seem like anything new, they are still coming up.

Hybrid meetings don’t have to be that painful. With the right tech in place (that works virtually and in-person) meetings can be successful for attendees and headache-less for IT teams. Effective hybrid meeting room setups encourage meeting attendees to take control of the meeting tech and minimize the need for IT teams to be physically present for every meeting (which we know is impossible).

People have a lot of hybrid meetings. The average number of hybrid/remote meetings that employees have each week:

<2 (46%)
3-5 (33%)
6-9 (7%)
10+ (14%)

Every meeting has its challenges - especially hybrid meetings. Here are the top ones:

Always
Often
Sometimes
Never
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 24% 37% 26% 13% Feeling disengaged 18% 42% 28% 12% Lost time due to technical difficulties 22% 38% 28% 12% Not being able to hear everyone 24% 36% 28% 12% Not being able to see faces and therefore missing visual cues 26% 35% 27% 12% Difficulty contributing to the conversation 21% 41% 26% 12% Audio/echo distortion 33% 33% 24% 10% Feeling left out 33% 34% 23% 10% Not being able to see the presentation 33% 34% 24% 9% Not being able to see the whiteboard
39%

Tech can help employees feel more included. 39% of workers feel they are not seen or heard as a remote employee.

Effective meeting tech can also help ease some of management’s top concerns. Managers top concerns when managing hybrid or remote teams:

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 30% Employee engagement 27% Reduced visibility of when team is working 25% Loneliness for employees 24% Employee satisfaction 24% IT support issues 24% Maintaining cultural connection with teams 22% Reduced employee productivity 22% Miscommunication across team

Section 4

What’s next?

We don’t have a crystal ball, but there are some signs as to what’s to come in the future for tech in the workplace. What are some of the top emerging technologies? AI has been a hot topic. Software like ChatGPT and Scribe are changing the way workers do their jobs, and hardware like the Meeting Owl brings teams together from all over the globe. Innovative tech can help transform any conference room setup.

So what should IT professionals be prepared for? The answer is simple: everything.

29%

Cutting-edge tech is here. 29% of employers have added AI tech to replace or augment employee roles.

What’s coming? Which technologies would workers want their employers to adopt in the next two years?

32%
AI/AI assistants
27%
Improved video conferencing technologies
26%
Augmented reality (AR) or mixed-reality device
21%
Holograms or avatars
18%
Virtual reality (VR) headsets

AI will play a key role in many ways. What effect will generative AI have on workers' jobs in the next five years?

32%
It will help them do their job faster/more efficiently
22%
It will create new jobs and their team will grow
21%
It will make their job more interesting
21%
It will compete with their job
19%
It will cause ethical issues
17%
It will steal their job

Conclusion

Industry trends come and go, but the need for a strong and supportive IT team never goes away. From digital trends to collaboration software to hybrid meeting technology, there will always be something. To help you start your 2024 off right, we put together a checklist to ensure you have the right foundation for your workplace strategy. And remember, if you’re in need of innovative, affordable tech solutions - we’re always here to help.

2024 IT Checklist

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