Persistent tech issues unite in-office, remote workers

From unreliable technology and too many tools to poor communication, today’s workers – regardless of location – agree on the hurdles they face in the workplace.
Whether they’re in-office, hybrid or working remotely, workers feel as though they’re experiencing the same challenges, according to our 2024 Workplace experience trends & insights report. This independent research study surveyed 900 people working full-time at companies with over 1,000 employees. The top challenges workers face – technical issues, collaboration and communication – are the same ones they experienced in the last survey.

When it comes to the biggest barriers to doing their jobs, here’s what survey respondents had to say:

  • Solving technical/IT issues (20%)
  • Collaborating across teams, departments and/or locations (17%)
  • Communicating quickly and seamlessly across platforms and devices (13%)
  • Locating specific files or people with specific expertise (11%)
  • Finding and sharing organizational knowledge (10%)

“As the technologies employees use in their personal lives grow more sophisticated, they expect their workplace tools to evolve in tandem,” says Thomas Philippart de Foy, Chief Innovation Officer at Appspace. “The bar for ‘good’ in 2024 isn’t the same as it was in 2019 — or what it will become in a few years.”

Satisfaction with workplace tech is declining

Survey respondents are becoming less satisfied with their workplace technology year-over-year. The percentage of those who answered “I am completely satisfied with my company’s workplace tools and technologies” has gone down each year, with 39% saying so in 2021, 33% in 2022, and 29% in 2023.

When it comes to the top tech issues, employees say they face the following hurdles: tools are unreliable/buggy (22%), inconsistent across employees (22%), and don’t integrate well (11%).

Today’s growing dissatisfaction with technology may be simple, says Philippart de Foy. “Employees have too many tools to choose from.”

Survey respondents tend to agree.

While 41% say they use two to three tools for workplace communication and management tasks, 59% use four or more tools. Of this majority group, 21% manage more than six tools.

One platform, fewer headaches

Importantly, 57% said it would be easier for them to do their jobs if the communications and management tools were consolidated within one platform.

Too many tools or poorly integrated technology infiltrates other aspects of the workplace experience. Connection and collaboration are two examples, according to the report. For in-office employees, a top struggle includes collaborating with employees not in their location, while for remote employees it’s forming camaraderie and connections with others.

These challenges, says Phillipart de Foy, are interconnected. Difficult-to-use tools create communication barriers, which reduces spontaneous interactions between colleagues, he explains. “These hurdles stifle employees’ abilities to connect, limiting the exchange of ideas, information, and feedback essential for a thriving workplace.”

For in-office or hybrid employees, the top challenges are as follows:

  • Difficulty determining if colleagues will be coming into the office (28%)
  • Issues collaborating with colleagues working remotely (27%)
  • Problems video conferencing/accessing the tools needed to work in the office productively/Issues finding where they need to go (17%)

For remote and hybrid staff, however, the challenges are unique to their setting:

  • Feeling a sense of camaraderie with my colleagues (23%)
  • Feeling connected and engaged with my work (20%)
  • Finding a sense of belonging and culture at my company (13%)

The key takeaway is no matter where an employee sits throughout the day, there is an interesting amount of overlap across their top frustrations. So, employers take note: Tech should support connection, be easy to use and even easier to find.

“Although these standards seem obvious,” says Phillipart de Foy, “it’s a foundation many employers are still struggling to get right.”

If you want to know more about tech and communications barriers in the workplace, download the report.

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