For business success, the right technology is everything

Nigel Dunn of Jabra shares how high-quality audio-visual tools can improve productivity in hybrid working environments, while giving staff the flexibility they want

For business success, the right technology is everything
Jabra

Flexibility has always been at the core of audio-visual technology provider Jabra’s operations. 

During a period of significant storms in the UK in 2000, for example, the firm's staff were forced to evacuate its office due to knee-high flooding. “We were quickly able to begin working from home because we already had the technology in place,” says Nigel Dunn, managing director of EMEA North at Jabra. “Business functioned as usual, so we learned a big lesson in resilience.”  

Dunn attributes this agility to Jabra’s use of Microsoft technology. “Jabra is a Microsoft user through and through – from our enterprise resource planning system to our customer relationship management system and our office products,” he explains. “We've also been cloud-based since 2014.” 

Jabra leverages its close relationship with Microsoft and tight integration with its technology to provide equipment that helps people succeed in hybrid and flexible working environments. “Our Evolve2 range complies with open office standards from Microsoft – the headset features active-noise cancelling capabilities and a boom arm to improve microphone quality,” says Dunn.  

The firm has also been extending its solutions past the home office and conference room, to the frontline. The firm’s BlueParrott range – which is designed for heavy-duty, high-noise environments such as in warehouses – now includes a Microsoft Teams walkie-talkie feature. “This opens up a plethora of potential use cases, especially for those working in retail,” says Dunn. 

But retail is not the only industry that could see great benefits from this type of on-the-fly ­communication. Dunn foresees significant gains to be had in education and healthcare.  

During the pandemic, Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital in the UK began using Jabra’s PanaCast video conferencing technology and speakerphones to connect healthcare workers in its designated Covid-19 red zones – where staff needed to shield using personal protective equipment – and green zones – where staff could safely treat non-Covid-19 patients. “Our solutions brought specialists together despite the physical barriers,” Dunn explains.  

Overcoming the separation created by working in disparate environments has been a challenge for many organisations and their employees over the last few years, but technology could be an easy way to maintain productivity in hybrid scenarios.  

“Many people have cited that they are actually more productive when working at home, despite the potential distractions of children, pets or household chores,” says Dunn. “This could be attributed to high-quality headsets that filter out background noise and create a concentration zone for users. Hybrid working is here to stay. We can't avoid it any longer and a lot of firms that didn't embrace the digital world got caught out during the pandemic.” 

Dunn believes that this attitude needs to change moving forward, not just so businesses can deal with potential crises, but also to ensure they meet the expectations of those entering the workforce.  

“There's a talent war going on out there – from our own research, 59 per cent of respondents said that salary is not the most important thing anymore, and that flexibility is a key factor when choosing an employer,” he explains. “Clearly this is something that employers need to think about.” 

Corporate social responsibility is also becoming more important to the modern workforce. “We've set some very aggressive sustainability targets, but it’s important for businesses to realise that they can make great sustainability strides by properly embracing hybrid working and the appropriate technologies,” says Dunn. “You no longer need to commute to an office or travel for business so much, which creates substantial energy savings. You can reduce your costs as a result and can invest those savings into other initiatives.” 

Jabra is practicing what it preaches. In the UK, it has launched a Go Electric scheme, enabling employees to purchase electric cars on business leases paid for by Jabra, as well as a ­salary-sacrificing programme. “It's these kinds of initiatives that will attract the best talent and retain them for the future,” says Dunn.  

Professionalism and productivity are key to the success of a business, and Jabra is working to deliver both to its customers. As employees continue to work from our home offices, it is clear that the right solutions could make the difference.  

“Businesses are often wary of homeworking as there is a chance that it could affect the way customers and prospects see them, for example with employees’ washing hanging behind them while on a call,” says Dunn. “It’s a bit like driving an old, battered car to a meet a customer – there is a little bit of the stigma about the driver’s professionalism and ability. One way to get around it is to have professional equipment that enables staff to do their job properly. For example, Microsoft Teams technology can provide green screen-like backgrounds, and noise-cancelling headsets can create a tranquil and professional experience.  

“First impressions count, and the right technology will give you a good head start.” 

This article was originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

Number of views (992)/Comments (-)

Comments are only visible to subscribers.

Theme picker