A study commissioned by EPOS shows that even after the pandemic, high-quality audio remains essential for employee productivity and comfort.
Although the Covid pandemic is far from over, EPOS is hopeful: ‘Virtual communication tools that became indispensable during the pandemic are playing an increasingly important role as the world shifts from crisis to recovery, according to the latest report from global audio brand EPOS. The study, “Investing in the Listening Age: the Importance of Audio in a New World,” finds that organizations are realizing how important these tools are in the now-established hybrid work models – globally. Companies report a 7% increase in investment in individual audio equipment over the past year, and 6% for shared audio equipment.
Increasing importance of audio
The return of employees to the office is, according to EPOS, ‘a gradual process and there is even a chance, their full-time presence in the office is a thing of the past forever. People are keen to retain what they perceived as positive work processes from last year – and for many, hybrid working falls in that category. However, there is a potential pitfall: digital burnout due to strained virtual communication. Organizations are aware of these two factors, as evidenced by the increased emphasis on audio quality. Three-quarters of companies currently consider audio communication to be essential or very important. According to the report, this is true across all markets, with the Asia-Pacific region standing out, with 96% of respondents in China and 90% in Australia recognizing the increased importance.
Quality is important. So is guidance.
The recognition of the key role audio equipment plays in today’s organizations has led to a commensurate increase in companies’ willingness to invest in superior audio solutions. 54% of decision makers consider high quality audio equipment essential, and nearly three quarters (72%) say they would spend more on a higher quality product. But in addition to investing in quality, the majority (70%) of respondents consider it essential or very important that employees be consulted when making audio equipment decisions. 88% of companies also believe there is a need for better policies and regulations for home working. ‘These findings suggest we may see employee consultation in the coming year – about the technology they need to work hybrid effectively (particularly regarding audio) – influence buying decisions,’ EPOS learned from the survey.
Financial community sees bread in audio investments
Broken down by sector, financial organizations appear to be the most positive about future investments in audio – 71% of respondents expect these to increase. According to the report commissioned by EPOS: ‘Manufacturing and IT/digital follow, at 67% and 64% respectively, a close distance. Financial institutions are also the most likely to invest regularly – 46% of decision-makers from that sector said they plan to invest in it every year, while 40% from media and insurance also plan to spend money on audio annually. This prioritization of audio spending – by the financial sector in particular, but also by other sectors where secure communications are paramount (IT and digital) – is actually obvious. However, the shift to hybrid working is taking place across all industries – 50% of decision makers plan to offer (or have already done so) all employees their own set of audio devices, for both home and office use’.
“With the transition from crisis to recovery, business leaders need to pause and listen carefully to their people. Only then they will understand what they really need: comfort and reassurance,” says Arnoud Dolle, Sales Director Benelux & Nordics Enterprise Solutions EPOS. “If they get that right, the road to productivity is wide open. Although the various sectors have their own needs, those of consumers will continue to evolve. They want better quality products and a better work experience in general. Sectors that do not yet offer this experience to their staff and customers will soon be forced to catch up.”