Almost 60 per cent of business leaders in sectors including Financial Services, IT and Digital, Hospitality and Telecommunications are readying for hybrid-working becoming the long-term norm and expect investment in audio equipment to increase over the next two year, recognising its essential role in the new professional landscape. As many people continue to work remotely in response to the public health crisis, quality audio is essential to maintaining client, employee, and partner communications, according to a report from audio brand EPOS.
Many business leaders now favour virtual connections over face-to-face interactions, having realised the vast potential for both time (45%) and cost savings (41%). In fact, 85 per cent of businesses say they plan to put policies and technologies in place to support a remote, flexible workforce long-term while 65 per cent believe remote work helps them reduce capital and operational expenses and manage risks. As employees swap corporate settings for the home office, business leaders are being forced to re-examine business models and investment priorities for equipment, and certain sectors are taking the lead to ensure that their businesses are prepared for the long-term shift to hybrid.
Professionals adapting to remote working can fall into the trap of using consumer-grade communications tools that lead to frustrating and counterproductive experiences. To ensure the hybrid shift remains viable, business leaders are on a mission to optimise the virtual working experience by addressing pain points like background noise, interference, and poor audio quality. For those that can solve these issues, productivity benefits are unlocked, creating a firmer foundation for modern work and hybrid workplaces.
Over the past year, audio quality has emerged as the non-negotiable enabler of business continuity, client and partnership management and internal communications. Of the global decision-makers surveyed, 56 per cent say that high-quality audio equipment is essential to their business, and a further 34 per cent think it is desirable. Overall, 83 per cent of respondents agree that audio equipment today has become more important compared with two years ago.
Audio has achieved a new status and several sectors are leading the race to invest in the right solutions, with C-suite level executives the most likely to push for annual investment. Of those surveyed, 66 per cent of respondents working in Healthcare and 64 per cent in IT and Digital industries say that high-quality audio equipment is indispensable to their performance. Meanwhile, 42 per cent of decision-makers globally (and over half in APAC and Germany) have observed an increase in the importance of audio technology in helping to maintain client relationships within their business.
There is a palpable urgency to ensure the right solutions are in place and the majority of business leaders (78%) are willing to pay more to get ahead; this is especially true for those working in; Telecoms and utilities (73%), Hospitality (68%), Financial Services (68%) and IT and Digital (67%). While an average investment increase of 26 per cent can be expected across sectors, this rises to 31 per cent in the finance sector.
Business leaders also need to look beyond the pandemic, recognising that a strong hybrid working culture will help secure future talent. Forward-thinking sectors are recognising this as an opportunity to fully support remote work programs to tap into a vast and global talent pool thereby creating greater business agility while gaining significant cost savings.
It’s critical that business leaders recognise the importance of meeting the expectations of a digitally native workforce. One in four millennials want to continue working from home post-pandemic, and the next generation expects it as standard. Generation Z’s representation in the global workforce is set to pass 1 billion by 2030, and with 29 per cent of respondents already citing younger employees needs as a key factor in the increasing importance of audio. Organisations that can offer flexible experiences and well-connected technology solutions will find themselves positioned to attract and retain top talent.