In a context where the fact of being operating remotely is now part of the daily working, it is essential to think about how to optimize the IT infrastructure to support employees and jobs. Only those who take these needs into account in the procurement process will be able to guarantee satisfaction and productivity.

The workforce of today’s companies is more heterogeneous than ever; generations very far apart ♪ Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials or Generation Y, and Generation Z ♪ cohabit the same place ♪ Everyone has different skills, approaches to work, needs and expectations compared to their working environment, not forgetting the delicate theme of the balance between work and private life. Generational differences, flexible and distance work have an impact not only on the management of activities and on the current work model but also on the technological needs of a company.

According to Livio Pisciotta, Sales Manager Client Solutions of Dell Technologies Italia recalls that 80% of workers belonging to Generation Z say that the high standard of IT infrastructure determines in an important way their choice of a place

The new generations, accustomed to interacting with high-performance tools and applications on their personal devices, expect to find the same infrastructure performance in a company, if not even better. On the other hand, many employees with more years of work experience are not always able to keep up with the digital transformation of their company and are often in a position to constantly familiarize themselves with new tools and applications and learn new ways of working.

Redefine KPIs

Companies are well aware that they cannot do without digital natives or the experience of older workers: both skills are crucial to the survival of an organisation that wants to maintain its competitiveness in the market. If societies want to ferry all generations within them to new work patterns, they must first consider the different needs of each and figure out how to support them to accept change.

In this, the approval of management is fundamental: they are the first to have to welcome the changes with enthusiasm, favoring the conditions for these to happen also by reviewing some KPIs. For example, if changes in IT division in the past were linked to the configuration of optimal workstations in terms of both cost and management, they must now also meet new needs, such as the internal customer satisfaction and efficiency.

For this reason, when purchasing technology devices such as new PCs, notebooks, keyboards and mouse, a person-centred approach is recommended, which puts their needs in the foreground.

The workplace should be set up so that employees have all the tools they need to perform their tasks in an optimal way. A well-designed IT infrastructure generates less frustration and consequently increases the satisfaction of the employees. The starting point is to know what the needs of the various jobs are.

It is incredible, according to Pisciotta, how often little attention to how a workstation is installed has repercussions on the efficiency and productivity of those who will then go to occupy it.

To facilitate this process, it is useful to define the so-called personas, that is, together of profiles encircled by common elements.

Workplace, the questions that companies have to ask themselves

Pisciotta argues that in order to be able to define the personas accurately, companies have to ask themselves some questions.

First of all: what is the PC or notebook for, that is, what are the fundamental applications for users, what performance does the device have to provide? Second: where do users use their PC or notebook? Do they do a job mainly in the office, or are they often in a meeting or on the road? Do they have a chance to work from home? Can they have to work in a particular environment? The answers to these questions can be obtained from several cases of use, which are essential to start a process of installing the IT infrastructure for employees.

Dell Technologies, for example, identified five different groups: the Office User, the user who performs his job mainly in the office, the Remote Worker, the Traveler, the Corridor Warrior and Speciality User. The characteristics and number of these employees vary depending on the sector and the target of a company. In SMEs, for example, the number of people is generally lower for the small size of society, but also for a smaller variety of professional profiles.

Human Resources and IT Division work together

To gather answers to the above questions, large companies can use specific tools, while in smaller companies it can be easier and more appropriate to conduct a survey among users, perhaps supported by the collaboration between HR and IT departments. In fact, if on the one hand the HR, knowing the various profiles, can have an overview of the needs of the employees, on the other, the IT division can define the personas and elaborate the results of the survey. However, based on the definition of the various groups, the purchase of the workplace infrastructure should be planned.

According to Piscioatta at this stage, especially for the SMEs, retailers or manufacturers can also enter into the game, which now have the practice of setting up, on request, exhibition areas at the customer company. This allows employees to closely observe preselected devices and provide direct feedback on the devices proposed. Even, some employees selected from various departments can be given the opportunity to test, for several weeks, one of the devices they consider most suitable for their needs. This ensures real adherence to the needs of the person.

Setting up the workplace based on employees’ needs may seem a challenging task, but if this is done in a structured way, optimization is achieved on the support asked of IT managers, because employees find themselves having everything they need. In addition, all devices can be managed through a single platform using a software created ad hoc. From our point of view, we can say that, as a rule, the personal-centred approach is particularly appropriate for companies with 50 or more employees who have at least three different professional profiles.

Workplace transformation requires acceptance

The optimal set-up of the workplace benefits only if employees are aware of the benefits they can have. The transformation of the workplace must not therefore be confined to the purchase of people-centred information technologies; it is essential to train employees, which can also create a bridge between generations: while younger employees broaden their knowledge, older employees can In this way, the benefits of digitalisation are made tangible and the gap of knowledge between generations is reduced.

Last but not least, Dell’s manager recalls, another crucial aspect is to create the conditions for employees to feel involved and participate, starting, as we said, from management. This also means explaining, in the context of internal communication, why changes are necessary, how they affect everyday life and how to deal with them. If employees understand that their company wants to involve them in the transformation and is willing to support them in case of difficulties, they will be much more motivated to change.

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