New research from Ricoh Europe reveals that the majority of organisations lack the technology to support flexible working – with only 30% of European employees saying they have all the technology to collaborate seamlessly when working with colleagues.

“Organisations have had several years to adapt to flexible working practices so it’s startling that many still lag in providing the basic technologies essential for collaboration and communication,” says Jolene Castelyn, marketing executive at Ricoh South Africa. “To let people succeed, businesses must put people first by prioritising the tools and technologies that enable their workforce to thrive and retain top talent. When employees are satisfied with their work environment and feel valued they are more likely to go above and beyond in their roles leading to increased productivity, better customer service, and innovative solutions.

“Embracing these changes isn’t just about staying competitive, it’s about valuing and investing in the happiness and fulfilment of the people who drive the success of the organisation,” Castelyn adds.

The research, conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of Ricoh Europe, polled 7 000 workers and 1 800 decision-makers across Europe.

The results revealed that flexible work continues to be highly valued among European employees, who prioritise the ability to arrange their work schedules and environments in advance including desk assignments, location, and workplace technology. This flexibility is the main factor influencing their decision to stay in their roles for the next 12 months.

Although employees highly value the ability to work flexibly, many still do not have the necessary tools. One in five (20%) of employees do not have access to essential collaboration software like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, while 29% do not have access to any collaboration hardware or hybrid meeting technology such as audio-visual conferencing equipment even though there is a high demand for it.

Business leaders acknowledge the problem. Nearly one in four (24%) admit that their collaboration tools do not meet industry standards making it hard for employees to perform their daily tasks. However, despite technology stacks remaining unchanged, only 17% of business decision-makers consider enhancing the employee experience a strategic priority for the year ahead.

The research reveals that business leaders should be placing employee satisfaction and experience at the top of their agenda. This starts with flexible working. Nearly a quarter (24%) of employees stated that the freedom to work outside the office, coupled with access to the appropriate technology to work from anywhere, would significantly enhance their job satisfaction.

“Employee enthusiasm often translates into lower turnover rates reducing the costs and disruptions associated with recruiting and training new staff,” says Castelyn. “This contributes to a more collaborative and efficient workplace where the organisation can focus on achieving strategic goals.”