Virtual communication tools that became indispensable during the pandemic have played an increasingly significant role as the world moves from a state of crisis to recovery, according to the latest report from global audio brand EPOS.
‘Investing in the age of listening: the importance of audio in a reimagined world’ finds that organisations recognise the crucial role that these tools play in now well-established hybrid working models – global businesses reported a 7 per cent increase in investment in individual audio equipment in the past year and 6 per cent for shared audio equipment.
Audio importance increases, decision-makers listen to demand
Employees’ return to the office is a gradual process, and full-time attendance is unlikely to ever reach pre-pandemic levels. Individuals are keen to retain the changes to workflows that they perceive as positive from last year – and for many, hybrid working falls into this category. But the potential for digital burnout caused by strained virtual communication remains a possible pitfall.
Organisations are mindful of both factors, as evidenced by the increased emphasis being placed on audio quality. Audio contact is now considered essential or very important for three-quarters of businesses.
Further, the findings do not simply consider the value of audio in isolation. Respondents to EPOS’ report rated audio equipment as more important than a laptop or PC across a range of scenarios, including conference calls, virtual meetings, communicating with clients/colleagues and working remotely.
Quality matters, but guidance is needed
Recognition of the fundamental role that audio equipment plays in contemporary organisations has led to a corresponding increase in the willingness of businesses to invest in superior audio solutions. High-quality audio equipment is essential for 54 per cent of decision-makers, and nearly three quarters (72%) say they spend more to get a higher quality product.
But alongside investment in quality, consultation with employees is viewed as either essential or very important to help inform decisions about audio equipment by the majority (70%) of the survey respondents. 88 per cent of businesses also believe there is a need for better policy and regulation for home working setups. These findings hint that, over the coming year, we may see consultation with employees about the technology they need to support effective hybrid working (particularly around audio) influencing buying decisions.
Finance sees potential in audio investment
Breaking down EPOS’ report findings by sector, Finance organisations are the most positive about future audio investment – 71 per cent of respondents expect it to increase. Manufacturing and IT and Digital are closest behind, with 67 per cent and 64 per cent concurring respectively.
Financial companies are also most likely to invest regularly – 46 per cent of decision-makers from the Finance industry said they plan on investing every year, with 40 per cent of those from the Media and Insurance industries also planning annual spend on audio.
This prioritisation of audio spend by Finance in particular, but also other sectors where secure communications are paramount (IT and Digital) is fairly logical. But adaptation to hybrid working is visible across all industries – 50 per cent of decision-makers are planning to provide (or have provided) everyone with one set of audio equipment each (to use both at home and in the office).
Jeppe Dalberg-Larsen, President at EPOS said, “the shift from crisis to recovery will require business leaders to step back and listen carefully to their audiences to get closer to what it is they really want – comfort and reassurance. If they can get this right, the path to productivity will be easily unlocked. While different sectors have varied needs, the needs of consumers will continue to evolve to push for better quality products and an overall better work experience. Sectors that are less advanced in providing this experience to their staff and customers will need to play catch up at some point in the future.”
Get the ‘Investing in the Age of Listening: The Importance of Audio in a Reimagined World’ report here.