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A Case Study With EPOS: Reimagining Employee Productivity

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Matt Wujciak
09/14/2020

EPOS

“It is common knowledge that there is a global productivity deficit… and it doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon.” - EPOS Vice President of Product Development, Enterprise Solutions, Theis Moerk

Although ill-advised, ignoring seemingly trivial factors in our working environment was once very easy, as we focused on the bigger picture of meeting KPIs and satisfying customers. These seemingly trivial factors in the working environment were often able to be forgotten, as companies prioritized successful quarterly earnings over individual employee productivity, which was okay

It no longer is.

The productivity deficit

Over half a year into the pandemic, many brands continue to struggle. Now, nearly every minor facet of the working environment is being questioned in an attempt to redefine how we meet objectives. The nuances of productivity, working environments, and technologies we previously pushed aside are now separating brands from competitors, or eradicating them entirely. For example, this year through August 9th, as many as 424 companies have declared bankruptcy, according to S&P Global. That surpassed the number of filings during any period since 2010, Business Insider recently reported. Of course, there are a number of reasons for this – from lack of agility, to outdated technologies, to declining employee productivity in unstable environments. 

“The global work-from-home movement intended to maintain output and efficiency during the COVID-19 pandemic could actually generate a worldwide productivity slump and threaten economic growth for many years,” senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Nicholas Bloom stated in Stanford News at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We are home working alongside our kids, in unsuitable spaces…” said Bloom

“Phone calls make collaboration harder.. You don’t know if anyone is really paying attention. In one conference call I was on, I thought the background noise I was hearing was actually a vacuum cleaner. When I asked ‘is somebody vacuuming,’ the sound mysteriously stopped. While a video call could seem intrusive, it is essential for ensuring the attendees are paying as much attention as they would in a physical meeting.”

“Many people I have been interviewing are now working in their bedrooms or shared common rooms, with noise from their partners, family or roommates,” Bloom stated.

According to recent studies by the Harvard Business Review, people reported being stuck in more meetings during the pandemic than before, doing too much “agenda-setting,” not doing enough creative collaboration, and of course, the noisy distractions that Bloom described. 

In a perfect illustration of Parkinson’s law, that work expands to fill the time available for its completion, the average 53 minutes per day people saved by not commuting was often immediately absorbed by additional, less productive work, chaotic noise drawing employees’ attention away from work, and a myriad of other distractions. 

The HBR surveys found that activities they call “passive leisure,” (such as engaging with family members or other general distractions) rose dramatically. In a new era of remote work, chaotic on-site work, shared working stations, or a mixture of all three, it’s important to block out the noise in order to produce more efficient results in whatever working environment we’re in. Here’s why. 

EPOS’ recent global research study, Understanding Sound Experiences, which surveyed 2,500 end-users and decision makers of audio equipment, revealed that 69% of employees spend extra time on their work tasks due to poor sound quality, with an average amount of extra time being spent on work per week totaling 29 minutes. This time could not only be put to better use, but it also negatively impacts workers’ wellbeing, causing unnecessary stress, when worker stress levels are already at unprecedented highs and worker well-being is at unprecedented lows. 

The pandemic has turned every conceivable stressor in our lives up a notch, including poor technologies that are incompatible with today’s changing working environment, causing anxiety and isolation among employees. A nationwide survey assessing the effects of the pandemic on the emotional wellbeing of U.S. adults showed that 90 percent of respondents were experiencing related emotional distress, including a collection of factors, such as poor working conditions or technologies that result in employee pain points, and ultimately, lost productivity.

With a staggering 87% of end-users surveyed having experienced at least one pain point due to poor sound quality, it shows that if the audio technology being used is of poor quality, instead of helping with productivity levels, it is hindering them, making it difficult for the many benefits of quality audio to be realized. 

Furthermore, with just under 90% of those surveyed having had difficulty making phone / internet calls because of background noise, bad connection, interference on the line or having to repeat themselves on more than one occasion, how can employers realistically expect their teams to be efficient? Luckily, the technologies of today’s workplace are evolving rapidly. 

Increased technological advancement

As WSJ and NYT bestselling customer experience author, Shep Hyken recently told me: 

“The adoption or adaption of existing technologies, depending upon how you look at it was thrown three to five years in the future…”

In today’s digital era, the technological breakthroughs we’re seeing in the audio sector - such as artificial intelligence being integrated into headsets to monitor the users’ auditory preferences, to collaboration software being used in speaker phones - are bringing us closer to an age of convenience and ease of connectivity. In fact, 79% of those experiencing audio pain points believe good audio equipment (such as headsets, headphones or speaker phones) is the right solution to solve their workplace challenges.   

“It is clear that companies have a responsibility to not only their business but their employees, to provide them with the best equipment to ensure optimum productivity levels as well as maintaining their competitive edge in the market.” - EPOS Vice President of Product Development, Enterprise Solutions, Theis Moerk

EPOS, part of the Demant Group – a world-leading audio and hearing technology group has built on more than 115 years of experience of working with innovation and sound.  With headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, EPOS operates in a global market with offices and partners in more than 30 countries with a unique stronghold in the intersection of vanguard technologies and ambitious humans. 

“We are catering to professionals and teams that expect as much of themselves as from their tools.” - EPOS Vice President of Product Development, Enterprise Solutions, Theis Moerk

Technology plays a vital role in enabling effective communication, productivity and performance, and therefore, it is vital for business decision makers and HR leaders to ensure that companies are investing in the right infrastructure and technologies to enable and empower their workforce. Cloud-based tools, employee-facing technologies, audio and video conferencing solutions and instant messaging groups are increasingly prevalent in today’s productive and engaged workplaces. 

Finding the right solutions

EPOS is an audio and video solution company developing and selling devices for business professionals and the gaming community. Based on leading and advanced technologies, the Danish founded company delivers high-end audio and video solutions with design, technology and performance as paramount parameters.

They have divided their technologies into three sub-categories: EPOS AI™, EPOS Sound™ and EPOS Voice™ to ensure a clear understanding of their technical spectrum at all ends. 

EPOS AI™ - We have developed an optimized audio experience that pushes communication further and boosts ability to succeed. With our user in mind, we implemented EPOS AI™ - a machine learning system embedded in EPOS audio devices that processes audio and takes decisions independently. By interacting with advanced beamforming and noise reduction algorithms, this system enables the device to automatically adapt to your speech while studying your sound environment. The technology within EPOS AI™ then successfully reduces the ambient sounds in your environment, thus, transmitting your speech loud and clear to your listener – where it matters most. We aim to stay at the forefront of what is technically possible. With the ADAPT 660 we have launched the first edge AI based headset in the entire UC space, thus laying the groundwork to be pioneers within audio technology.

EPOS Voice™ - EPOS Voice™ improves your speech intelligibility and provides for a better conversation by creating an acoustic lens to focus on your speech. Through removing remaining noise disturbances, it ensures a more natural reproduction of the human voice. EPOS Voice™, furthermore, recognizes your environment to eliminate unpleasant background noise to clarify your sound picture. Making sure you can be heard no matter where you are – for the ultimate audio experience. With optimal control of noise levels, this technology allows for an effortless use of your digital voice assistants anytime, anywhere. 

EPOS Sound™ - EPOS Sound™ makes the most out of your premium audio device by delivering a natural listening experience. Through continuous monitoring of ambient sound and varying noise levels, our technology helps you concentrate while taking care of your hearing: creating an augmented and immersive audio experience that sounds as if you are speaking to someone face-to-face or are right there in the same environment. No matter where you are. What’s more, you can listen to your teammates or keep an ear out for announcements without removing your headset. For more focus, block out background noise with ease and enjoy the benefits of EPOS Sound™ – while watching your performance and energy levels rise.

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