Have you had to replace in-person meetings with online calls? Do you rely on email, phone and text messages every single day? Are you reading these questions from a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer?
We’re confident that you’d answer yes to nearly all the above questions. Chances are you’re wondering why we ask, too. All of these have a very basic thing in common: they depend on IT. Very few of us can go without email, phone and digital access in both our professional and personal lives. Digital communication and its myriad applications are essential to everyday life — as essential now as electricity. We need IT. But many of us take it for granted.
Many IT professionals function as urgent problem-solvers who create the paths from irritation and inactivity to smooth workflow and task completion. In essence, they’re the gatekeepers of productivity today. The overarching narrative, though, is that we only interact with the IT department when things go wrong. This can easily lead to a negative relationship between employees and between employees and IT. That impacts our own well-being and the well-being of people working in the IT department.
Rijn Vogelaar, Yorizon’s Research Director, says there’s an evolutionary component to this kind of negativity. Basically, it’s just how we’re wired. For most of our evolutionary history, we were surrounded by life-threatening danger, and to survive we had to be alert. Our brains, as a result of these conditions, have a very sensitive alarm function to make sure we deal with danger immediately. We’re evolutionarily programmed to focus on problems first.
Nowadays, most of us live in a relatively safe place. We are not surrounded by danger in the same primal sense as 10,000 years ago, that is, battling wild animals for food on a regular basis. Still, our brain keeps focusing on problems with the same vigilance, even if they are much smaller and less extreme than before.
So, how does that relate to IT? Most of us take for granted positive aspect it plays in our work and lives. We certainly don’t feel gratitude for all the good it brings us on a daily basis because our brains mainly focus on fixing problems. If everything works fine, we take it for granted. Only when something doesn’t seem to work, the alarm goes off.
But it’s time to shift that thinking. Look no further than current times.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, employers and employees alike were forced to adapt, swiftly, to isolated working conditions. IT departments became essential. They kept productivity in motion, made work-from-home possible, and ultimately helped economies survive. They kept us connected in our personal lives, kept us plugged in to a world that had seemingly turned upside down, and endlessly provided the means to manage through the challenges that few of us saw coming.
This recent and ongoing reality has not only proven what we’ve known to be true already — that IT happiness is as essential as IT itself — but thrust its salience to the forefront of conversations.
Make IT happiness your priority in 2022.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to seriously impact the globe in 2022. The new Omicron variant of the virus will keep us busy for some time, and governments will encourage or even enforce working remotely for a good while. But even after the pandemic is behind us, the landscape will have changed because IT is more intertwined with our work and lives than ever. The future of work will be hybrid. A survey by Stanford showed that 55% of US workers want a mixture of home and office working.
In addition to the technological consequences, our attention will need to shift towards the psychological consequences. We have and will become more reliant on IT so that we not only maintain our productivity but to nurture our connections with others. Our well-being depends on it. That’s why, at Yorizon, we believe you should make IT happiness a priority in 2022. An organization achieves IT happiness when their employees embrace and appreciate the role IT plays, and IT departments feel valued and empowered to contribute their expertise. That starts with understanding, monitoring and activating the IT experience so that it has a positive influence on people and organizations. You can improve the digital employee experience and build better relationships with internal customers.
One of our missions at Yorizon is to really make people aware and grateful that they have IT and the technology that we use every day, and to use it in a responsible way and be grateful for not only the technology but the people behind technology.
We had an experience recently that illuminates the needs we’re meeting for companies. We held a presentation about our work with an organization, and we had maybe 30 or 40 people joining in. There were a fair amount of people from IT operations — people from the service desk, application support and the like. It’s not uncommon for IT professionals to feel skeptical or even defensive when we, a third party, are hired to focus specifically on IT.
As we began the presentation, we emphasized an important finding from the research: The IT organization received 3,000 compliments. They didn’t believe it. It was a kind of skepticism they weren’t prepared for. But we showed them evidence that the organization indeed valued their contributions and that they were doing well. There were areas for improvement, to be sure, but pointing out the strengths and value was a remarkable surprise — a sign that perspectives can shift for the better and that IT happiness is a real possibility.
When you focus on the possibilities that IT can bring, rather than continue the cycle of IT-related stress and frustration, you make room for prosperity.
IT happiness is not a “soft” topic.
There’s a good deal of research that ties IT happiness to improved productivity. People may have their entire work week impacted by just a few interruptions and unexpected problems. You may even be losing more time than you think. Employees average having a serious IT problem 1.7 times a week, and it takes about 35 minutes each week to solve a single problem. All told, employees waste more than two weeks a year dealing with IT-related issues. Time lost to technical interruptions is time lost for the company’s ability to deliver on its goods and services. That impacts more than just the folks who make your organization run. Its impacts are felt from the boardroom to the checkout counter.
IT has the power to make or break your organization. In addition to the assessment tools we provide that engage IT staff, we focus on the end user. They have, after all, the most experience with your products and services on a daily basis.
Typically, customers can expect to provide feedback perhaps once a year, corralling their opinions and feelings into an oversimplified statement. We go further. We want to know how the experiences they have on a daily basis are being assessed. What’s going well? Where is there need for improvement? Where are the opportunities, for companies, to deepen the end user experience?
Our tools show you how to make the IT customer satisfied and also keep them satisfied. By regularly prioritizing their experience through a customer satisfaction survey, we identify both the positive points and directions for improvement. Or as we call it: via the double feedback loop. What can be done better, and what can we learn from projects and services that go well? We analyze, understand and activate both the negative and positive loops for well-rounded, comprehensive assessment. This valuable information shows you how to talk to the customer about the road to even better service. It deepens your relationship with them and makes room for possibility instead of constant IT “triage.”
Take IT happiness seriously.
To understand how to think about IT’s role in your company in relation to happiness, consider these questions: Are your end users making the most of the product you’re providing? Are your employees enthusiastic or discouraged when they interact with IT applications and devices? Does your IT department feel appreciated, motivated and goal-oriented? Maybe these are questions you haven’t considered. Maybe the insights you receive will surprise you.
Yorizon combines scientific research into happiness with years of practical experience in monitoring the IT services of hundreds of internal IT departments and service providers worldwide. We create awareness about the importance of IT for the physical and mental disposition of employees, and we enable your company to leverage IT to deepen customer loyalty, improve their daily experiences, and find new ways to keep thriving.
It’s time to take IT happiness seriously. Your company and your customers are waiting to shift their perspective from old assumptions grounded in negativity to innovative thinking that leads to prosperity and well-being.