Feb. 22, 2023

The Cost of Poor Digital Employee Experience: Why It's Hurting Your Bottom Line

The Cost of Poor Digital Employee Experience: Why It's Hurting Your Bottom Line

In today's digital age, organizations are investing more and more in technology to streamline workflows, automate processes, and drive efficiency. However, many are overlooking a critical component of this digital transformation: the employee experience. When employees are forced to navigate outdated, clunky, or disjointed digital tools and platforms, it can lead to frustration, wasted time, and decreased productivity. In this episode, we'll explore the hidden costs of poor digital employee experience, including lost productivity, decreased wellbeing, and technology bloat. We'll also discuss the benefits of investing in a better digital employee experience, including increased engagement, higher job satisfaction, and improved business outcomes. Tune in to learn why digital employee experience is more important than ever and how to make the case for investing in it to your organization's leadership.

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Ryan Purvis 0:00
Hello and welcome to the digital workspace works Podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines. The problems they face, how they solve them. The areas they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took that will help you to get to the scripts with a digital workspace inner workings.

Hello, hello.

Heather Bicknell 0:32
Hello, hello. How's it going?

Ryan Purvis 0:37
Good. Good. So it's a lovely hot day the wind is blowing. And that's all good.

Heather Bicknell 0:46
That sounds that sounds lovely. I just have a big pile of melting snow out my window. So I can do some of that. But that's good.

Ryan Purvis 0:57
Yeah. I'm gonna be honest, I can't remember what we agreed to talk about on Tuesday, I think the the team's connectivity was so bad that they which I think I finally, the problem was, it wasn't team's fault. It was my fault. The I installed a powerline network, or power of Ethernet connection from the router to working. But I left the Wi Fi on on my laptop as well. So that's getting to the mesh network. And where I am in the house, I would like a little dead spot, for some reason. And I've had, and when you look at the order of network interfaces on on the Mac, it shows the Ethernet one as the first one. And the Wi Fi one is the second one. So I thought, in my mind, at least that because the Ethernet ones first, that's what it's using for everything. But it's not doing that it's using whichever connection, it's obviously just trying to try the connection and it's flip flopping between the two. So what happens is I lose. Because it's trying to get the wire, the Wi Fi obviously isn't great here. So it kind of tries the Wi Fi that it fails, then it goes to the Ethernet that goes back to summary goes back to the Wi Fi. Anyway, so turned off the Wi Fi connection. And all of a sudden, I've had no problems with well, magic got to the bottom of it anyway. That's funny. I've had telecom out here I've had I've had running, I wrote a script to do speed tests. And the weird thing is I actually went in plugged this laptop into the router at the wall right there at the wall. And I had the same problems. So it wasn't like that, you know, really good, I couldn't see that there was there was, you know, the problem, there's a problem with the the actual line. But because we're still trying to connect to the Wi Fi, if you didn't take Wi Fi out of the equation, which was a troubleshooting thing. And I should have actually just removed as many things as possible, down to the simplest line and then tested each one and then work that way. And the minute I did that it just worked. Now the interesting thing on that is that now it's since it's worked on the Ethernet connection, if I leave Wi Fi on, it still works, because it now definitely uses Ethernet as the main connection. And I don't know how like why that is? I don't know if that's, that's some intelligence in the operating system. Or it's just because I turn Wi Fi on afterwards. It's got that order Correct.

Heather Bicknell 3:28
Interesting. I think this is actually a good conversation related to what we last Thursday, I talked about chatting about which is the ROI of digital of, you know, improving digital employee experience. So how many hours of productivity would you say you lost trying to figure out your Wi Fi was

Ryan Purvis 3:53
just too much. And I'm having another issue with Vodafone, which we can also talk about. And as I keep talking with Robin, and it you'll see a LinkedIn post on this my feed, it's not so much the technical loss that you find, like like, obviously you lose time, because your device is not working. And it's going to do silly, it's going to be sluggish. Like for example, by copying, I was trying to copy a Word document from Dropbox into Outlook. And because there was no internet connection or an unstable one, it would freeze the whole device because it was trying to download the Word document to put it into the Outlook email. So that that not only cost me time while it freezes, and then you got to kill the kill everything to get it back up and whatever. But there's also the cognitive loss, which is really brought up today in our conversation. And this is what I posted on on LinkedIn. Because you're doing something and you're in the flow of doing something and then your computer freezes. And now you have to stop thinking about because you've got to stop that flow to deal with tech. issue. And that can take you down a rabbit hole and you actually forget what you were doing, which will take you, you know, 20 to 25 minutes to get back on track. And that's if you remember what you wanted to do next, because obviously that was in your head, you haven't written it down, or whatever it is so, so that cognitive impact is actually quite, quite large. And then, you know, you've also got the decision around, what have you invested in order to make this environment work for you. So like, you know, we've got a mesh network that we bring with us, with a fibre here, that's all got costs associated with it. But if that thing doesn't work, I'm the only person who can fix it, because no one else in the family is technical. So I can spend a whole morning, you know, three, four hours, testing things and walking around, and whatever it is, to the point that I'm going to solve it, which I finally did, which was obviously quite a quite unusually, it's something small and silly, would solve the problem. But that three or four hours can be quite frustrating, because you, you know, while you're trying to solve it, you know, my wife's gonna be on calls, my kids are trying to watch TV, everything's on the internet, everything's been streamed. And of course, I can't just turn the Wi Fi off and on, because I'm trying to test something because they all want to use it. So there's a lot of those sort of cascading things that if you're a corporate environment, and you know, Wi Fi is not going to be necessary, turn off alarm, because they were changed control, that the notifications and all that sort of stuff, but it's still an impact. And he wants to work together, then it's happy days. And you're like, why did why did it take me so long. And I probably lost a good day across a week, running around trying to sort things out and putting in, you know, we've got to a 4g router as well. So, you know, I've got that as a failover. Now, so I spend money on that. So there's the cost of buying equipment for backups, to solve, to keep everyone going and also be able to work because the other thing is you've got to work while you're doing all this stuff. So there's many times when I was just working on something to solve the problem, and then oh, my gosh, I gotta get on a call now. So I gotta stop or do the call. And then you might have a few calls that are Oh, work to get done. And then you're like, Okay, now I need to look at this thing. But you've got to now switch back into what you're looking at. So it's never it's never simple. Be the summary.

Heather Bicknell 7:25
Definitely. Will you mentioned it's these kinds of issues are, are less prevalent in a in a corporate environment. But I do think, yes, you know, in the office, that's sort of one of the benefits, particularly from an IT side is you have control over things, you don't have to worry about people's home networking issues. But obviously, a lot of organisations are still working in a remote or hybrid fashion. Which means that to an extent is it is job to help figure out if something if an issue is being caused by the employees own own network, when they're sort of troubleshooting issues like slowness on a device, which could be a really common but fake complaint to,

Ryan Purvis 8:16
you know, the tools we've worked with, and there's nothing more difficult than my computer slow. As a starting point, I mean, you need to have telemetry you need to have, you know, I sort of treated as a Sherlock Holmes kind of case where you've got to have a lot of pieces of information that you can put together to, to troubleshoot. And, you know, when you don't have those sort of tools, I mean, you know, I've got, you know, old in laws and parents and stuff, and I get the phone call my computer slow. And you're like, Well, I don't have any telemetry to look at. So I can only ask the obvious questions are how does the computer what's How big is the harddrive? How much RAM you got? Is it a new computer is an old computer, you know that very, very basic diagnostic questions. But when you got the telemetry, you can most cases just look at a screen, that's going to give you a couple early indicators of what the problems are. And you'll see disk space issues or we will see age of the computer or, you know, they haven't rebooted the machine in a long time. Or they've left a whole lot of applications running. You know, all those sorts of things, which, you know, for most people, that's not normally the problem. But I think you'll realise that there's almost a hygiene that you've got to have as well to using a device rebooting it off and cleaning up your unused applications. You know, carrying out disk space that you actually had your recycle bin, that sort of stuff. Speaking of which, I've just got a warning that my disk is full. Oh no. worst, the worst, which is quite funny because when I bought this laptop which was supposed to be a personal laptop, not a work laptop and get some buying a new laptop, bring it back to London. It's a, I didn't think I would actually need more than turn 50 gig hard drive. But I filled it up almost every day with stuff I'm doing so clearly is something that I need to go and clean up now.

I've heard probably a whole bunch of what are you a whole bunch of photos of downloaded or something like that?

Heather Bicknell 10:29
Yeah, every now and again, I have to go clear out the old podcast download, recording downloads, because that's obviously take up a whole bunch.

Ryan Purvis 10:38
Probably what actually what's happened is the is I use a tool called Hazel on the Mac. And what that's supposed to go and do is it's supposed to go and move all you know, there's different rules you set up, and it's one of the things are supposed to do is move the recordings for another folder. And in that folder is in Dropbox. And Dropbox was told to keep that folder in the cloud only. But sometimes that process of moving the recordings means it downloads all the recordings that are there till they get moved. And that I mean, a recording could be the foreigner make whatever it is. And I didn't realise that the other day, but I'd actually left a quick time recording on my screen going. So I recorded an entire day of stuff that I did was study eggs. And I couldn't work our word run out of disk space. Well, that was worrying to disk, but it's because there was one file a 35 gig. And that's just the case of the silly user.

Heather Bicknell 11:41
That is, that is pretty funny. Do you see that with that recording, I don't know what but

Ryan Purvis 11:48
I just deleted, I couldn't operate the machine because I was doing something Yeah. And it just the whole machine just said, you know, your disk space has I can't be you know, this is this, there was like 100 gigs for you that can't be and then you can't do anything. And then I had to slowly delete things and, and close things off. And you know that, you know, that was a great case of because I'd never script to do the cleanup. I had to do it manually and nurse it basically back to to a running machine, then reboot it. And then work on it. But that takes away a game cognitive load. I was busy in the middle of doing a presentation and I was you know, it was I was in a great low. And then it all went to two parts. And I had to start again.

Heather Bicknell 12:38
So yeah, it's unfortunate when those things happen in the context switching is a real, a really big issue in the digital workspace today, I think. What about other, you know, forms of ROI around improving digital employee experience, I think about even things like employee well being and wellness. What are your thoughts on how those two things interrelate?

Ryan Purvis 13:11
Well, I mean, I think we've, we've learned the hard way, thanks to the pandemic, that for a long time people were burning out, just in the day in the daily lifestyles that we had, you know, and I look to my, you know, my UK experience where you're commuting into the office five days a week, you know, you're on trains, or buses you're walking, or whatever it is, then you sort of go work behind the desk. You know, using screens probably all the time, whether on your phone, your iPad, your laptop, or whatever you're doing, as you as you do whatever you're doing, and not realising that You're tiring out your eyes or your body. You know, united stand a lot on I think just standing right now.

Heather Bicknell 13:58
I usually don't first thing

Ryan Purvis 14:00
no show and you know, my wife is still sort of I call the old style where she sits behind a desk all day. And I can see when I walk in at five o'clock, she's hunched so far forward, and you're headed tilted back. And then she says her neck is sore. I can tell you why your neck is sore because you sit in the most awkward position when you work. And you're tired because of all those things not because of that. And I think that's where the tools should help. I mean, you know, we've talked about Apple watches and orange rings and all those things. But, you know, one of the things that we were talking about with one of the companies was actually having the popup on the screen to tell you to go and have a break specifically around all these back to back meetings and all that stuff because even before the pandemic because, you know, we could see in the calendars that he was on calls that he wasn't on calls. And you could say to someone you know you need to actually go and have to take a 10 minute break here because you'd be back to back to back Uh, go do some stretching go, whatever it is, because it's it's not healthy. And I think that's I haven't seen I mean, I've been in corporate environment for a while, but I'm still here having those conversations with people where they, they're saying that they need breaks and they need and they need to take a hard look at how many meetings that are in and how many things that shouldn't be meetings, but could actually be an instant chat message or, or a one pager.

Heather Bicknell 15:33
Yeah, there was a, an image that went viral. I saw it on LinkedIn last week. And I don't know what the original source was. But it was a calendar, like it looked like a meeting calendar invite. And then it had the cost of the meeting by, you know, whatever the the salary was, per person broken out for the time, and then it had, like the total cost of having all those people in the room and automating. And that spurred a lot of a lot of discussion around, if we had something like that, and everyone could see the true, you know, cost of having all these calls and inviting everyone, it would change our behaviour. So do you think there is there a ways that technology could like that? I don't know, the technology helping to govern the use of the technology by helping people see when they're, you know, sort of issues like, like that? Yes.

Ryan Purvis 16:27
Or I didn't actually answer your question I just mentioned that piece. And then that is a big thing is, well, I kind of answered it and bring the money into it. But you know, we're doing quite a lot of work around our return value calculations, using the data we're collecting and see. And there are some very scary numbers when you look at some of these things. And I'll get back to my cognitive load example, that that came up, you know, if you, if you work out, every company will have an average hourly costs for an employee in their business, which would be the blended value. And let's use a simple number. It says $50 an hour. And you take into account that that freeze issue that I had cost me half an hour, five minutes to sort the problem out, but 25 minutes to get back into the flow. So that's already $25. Lost for the day. And used to and you're having those recurring. So in a in a 40 hour, week, $40,000 a week, give or take, and you're taking off for this issue. It's a it's happening five times in the week, as two and a half hours. 125, you know that that cost will add up, especially if you have an employee base of 1000 10,000 100,000 200,000, if they're all having those problems, and that's where the real ROI, return of ARV comes into it because you're looking at the more people you have the greater number of scenarios you have defined return of value. So we were having a discussion with someone where they were saying, well, we don't really care about the application faults for that application. Because we can't really justify the value. And what is Tarik? Like, I agree with that, because you know that that application fault is not necessarily impacting the user because they don't see it. So I can't remember what the thing was. But what I say to them is when you've got data that has been that machine has been impacted by this thing crashing one way or another. Because when it crashes, it's good to write the entry to the event log. When it crashes, it might be interacting with something else when it crashes, or something else is causing it to crash. So you actually don't know what the what the problem really is you have to go and investigate every crashes you're seeing. Because it's the it's the number one list on the on the list. So there's definitely something going on, you need to find out what's causing it. Now let's say it's usually something like this the junior security product that causing some sort of deadly protection, or holistic product product is looking for malware or something like that, that could be conflicting with it. Now, while to use, it may not be impacted, what might be happening. And you know, you'd have to use machine. But what you might see happen is the antivirus or the NT, remember the name of the products in what they call them. But that product might use more resource like a CPU resource, because it's trying to address or detect what the problem is, which is causing that crash. So you actually are impacting your user. Now if you took a 10% value, which is kind of worked with commonly works out to go back to our $2,000 a week cost and you found a 10% improvement for your user base. That's $200 That's $200 for 10,000 users is honestly 2 million. But that's a huge number. Now, if you don't do anything about it, that's $200 for that debt 10%. Now, if that problem that application fault is resolved, you might get back, not necessarily $200, you might get back $5 or $10. But then you go to the next, and the next, the next. Now, you got to prioritise these things somehow. Now, the quantity market way that you prioritise it, but you can also prioritise it based on what kind of application it is. So if the application that's folding is teams, for example, you get that all the tension in the world, because that's probably the most used tool in the business right now. Even even probably higher than Upwork. And it was not teams, it will be something else, like there'll be zoom and will be WebEx or whatever it is. So those have to work. And then you'll see then the value is easy to articulate. Because you can say, well, if you can't use teams, and we don't have a backup, that's entire business, they can't do collaboration. And then it's the $2,000 becomes not a loss of 200, but a loss of 2000 times by, you know, whatever the number of employees is. So I think those return on value conversations and and then it doesn't matter about the technicality, though, it's a commercial thing to say, well, we need to invest X amount of resource to investigate these problems to bring stability to the environment. And that return on value is easy to justify, because you you should be looking at a prioritised list of applications. The other thing to be aware of, or concerned about is the compliance piece of that is it's us that shouldn't be there, or shouldn't end, it isn't stuff that shouldn't be there, we need to get rid of that stuff. Not only will you save money and get some money back from the licences, you should be getting back if you're removing software not using, but also any software that you have, and go back to the the application for that no and seeing if that piece of software is sitting there, and it's going to vulnerability, and you haven't removed it, you've opened yourself up to an attack vector, which is probably not even a known attack vector because no one's using the software. So you don't know to keep it up to date. It's kind of lost in the minutiae of aggregation. But also, when you start looking at compliance, and saying, Well, we'll only run this version of Chrome or this version of edge or this version, or whatever it is, anything below that needs to be upgraded, or replaced. You start patching the environment correctly, you start getting to the desired state, which is actually the objective and the desired state should provide the best platform for the end user to do their job, but also in a secure way, in a performant way in a stable way.

Heather Bicknell 22:41
Yep. Absolutely. Yeah, a lot of times, it comes back to not having that that insight. Of course, as we know, if you don't have the data to find those things, or to, you know, discover what application versions are in your environment at scale, then, you know, you don't know what you don't know. But oh,

Ryan Purvis 23:06
but you need that data has to be turned into information. And that information has to be you have to know what to do that information. So, you know, I have a few conversations with a few people. And they're like, well, that's great. We've got this telemetry data, we got all this other data, but we just don't know what to do with it. Yeah. And there's mechanisms and frameworks on what to do, and then how to approach it. And some of it, it's none of it's rocket science is, you know, this is, this is actually pretty straightforward, sensible approaches to things, but it does require a level of asking some questions, and, and understanding the environment and understanding what's important. And, you know, tying back to objectives and you know, how the, what the business ceases as priorities as important, and then mapping that to, to common common use cases. But, you know, there's, there's definitely plenty of things you could be doing, which would be consistent across every company we just cleaned up is probably the most obvious one. The second most obvious one is restarting machines on a regular basis. You know, we sort of two to four weeks, there's definitely benefit in doing that. And then you get into application specific stuff. You know, how do you how do you manage outlook on the desktop? How do you manage your call line of business applications? browsers, you know, how do you manage browsers and keep them in a good state?

Heather Bicknell 24:28
Yeah, I think some of that is where intelligence also comes in, in terms of how how software can be helpful, but it's definitely also just going for those, as you say, well known high value, places just start digging in.

Ryan Purvis 24:48
And I think there's a level of the end user, you know, the end user on average is more sophisticated now, the more technologies so they have to be part of that, that solution. So you can have the an REO which is what the problem is, you know, running out of disk space, that's the problem. But then you can have those recommendations, which are, you know, the run the automation that clears out all the things, move the applications that are unused, whatever it is, but the user needs to be part of that, because you can get to remove an application they're not using. And this goes back to Bayer economics. It's they are using marks of project for example, they've used it once. And then you use your data and you say, Well, you haven't used this product in three months, can we take it away from you, they've economics will be well actually wanted there, because I might use it again, because I've used it once. And they need to understand that while by keeping this product, here are the ramifications, one the product will take up space to it's now an attack vector, because we have to keep it up to date. And we don't keep it up to date, then if there's any any vulnerabilities, it'll be, it'll be a doorway to chaos. Or also, there's a cost associated to this. So when we do our true up with Microsoft, they're going to charge us for the licence for you having Marsha. And that could be could be nothing in terms of monetary value. But again, coming back to the 5000 10,000 100,000 user base, if everyone's got project installed. Yeah, it's a it's 10 bucks a user per month. That becomes a really big number really quickly. And that's where, you know, trying to bridge the gap between what is actually a technical problem or technology problem, which is actually really isn't to a commercial business problem, which is what it really is. And a risk problem is it's fun.

Heather Bicknell 26:35
Yeah. That's super fun. But no, it's interesting stuff. Unfortunately, I do need to run but great chatting is always,

Ryan Purvis 26:45
always is cool. We'll talk later.

Thank you for listening to today's episode. Hey, the big news app producer, editor. Thank you, Heather. For your hard work on this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DWW podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website www.digitalworkspace.works/. Please also visit our website www.digitalworkspace.works/ that works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.