It seems that Gen Z and even some Millennial employees are less tech savvy than many employers might expect. It’s an assumption that’s leading to a sense of ‘tech shame’.
Younger workers may have grown up using Snapchat, TikTok and Minecraft, but they’re not always equipped with the skills they need to adapt to the workplace.
A recent study has found that one in five employees aged 18 to 29 feel judged when they encounter technical issues at work. That’s compared to just one in 25 employees aged 40 or over.
The solution may lie in providing better training, not just for younger colleagues and first-jobbers, but for the whole team. Some Gen Z workers may have started their careers during the pandemic. That means they will never have experienced anything other than a digital working environment. Especially if they work remotely or in a hybrid role.
As well as fixing any skill gaps there may be, whole-team training can provide a much-needed confidence boost for young employees.
Another consideration is the provision of tools and devices your team has access to – especially if they’re working remotely.
Younger workers with less available income to spend on home office equipment may be less likely to speak up if they’re struggling.
Simply checking in with employees – particularly if they’re not in the office – can make a big difference to their engagement, productivity, and confidence. If there are any issues, big or small, find a way to put them right, and you’ll notice a positive shift in the whole business.
If you’d like any advice about tech shame or help with training, boosting efficiency or sourcing equipment, we’re here when you need us. Just get in touch.
Countless employers still don’t trust their people to do their best work unless they’re physically in the office. But while managers may be struggling to adjust to our new hybrid world, this perception is a long way from the truth.
Research from around the world reveals that greater flexibility from remote and hybrid working often results in a major boost to productivity. Yet still some firms are bringing back an office-only policy.
Employers may be grappling with the fallout of the last few years and hoping that a return to the office will result in a post-pandemic productivity boost.
But seeing as hybrid workers show improved morale, greater creativity and better collaboration (compared with pre-pandemic levels), this could be a big step in the wrong direction.
Big Brother will never be popular
Some businesses have increased their employee monitoring to try and track performance. But this is often perceived as a Big Brother tactic that ends up having the opposite effect – a drop in productivity, a lack of trust, demoralized teams, and a greater feeling of ‘us and them’.
All businesses need to understand how they are performing and decide which metrics give the best insight into productivity. But this has to be done in a way that doesn’t leave employees feeling like cogs in a machine.
So what’s the answer?
There is some clear advice for building a productive and successful hybrid environment:
Encourage people to work in the way that’s best for them
Find the right ways to measure performance – without people feeling like they’re constantly being watched
Automate repetitive tasks to free up your team’s creativity
And provide everyone with the tools and tech they need to do their job properly. That could include choosing the right devices, using communication tools that aid collaboration, and making the right connectivity choices.
We can help with all of this.
So if you’re having trouble adjusting to a hybrid world, get in touch – we’re here to help.
With its huge dominance in the workplace, Microsoft’s Windows has become the prime target for cyber criminals. They’re looking to access your information, disrupt your business, or hold your data to ransom.
Tens of millions of attempted malware attacks were discovered throughout this year, and a massive 95% of those threats were targeted at Windows.
The vast majority of attacks are unsuccessful, but those that do succeed can create havoc for the affected businesses. So you need to be sure that you’re taking all possible precautions to protect your business and your data.
Hardware and software companies release regular updates to address threats to Windows users, as well as security patches designed specifically to deal with new risks. These should all be installed as soon as they become available.
Your people should be regularly trained in how to spot cyber security threats and what to do if they suspect one.
And because it’s not possible to protect every business from 100% of all threats, it’s also important that you have a strong resilience plan in place.
This should detail exactly how your business should react if it falls victim to a cyber attack and who should be notified to take action. Everyone in the company should have access to this document and know to report any potential attack as quickly as possible – that’s the best way to lessen its impact.
If you have an IT service provider, they’ll be able to make the best recommendations to keep your business safe and secure, train your people, and even provide monitoring to spot any potential danger before it becomes a problem.
This is something we do every day. So if we can help your business become more resilient, just get in touch.
Passkeys are set to take over from traditional passwords to give us a safer, more secure way of logging into our online accounts.
That will be a major step forward for online security, and it’s gathering pace quickly with more and more big names adopting the technology. So how long will it be before we finally wave goodbye to the password?
This new tech has long been supported by the FIDO alliance – an organization of big tech companies including Apple, Google, and Microsoft – in the hope that it could eventually kill off passwords completely.
These megabrands are already rolling out passkeys on some of their applications. But now some of the big names in password management software are getting in on the act, too, which is likely to speed things up even further.
Passkeys work by creating and storing credentials on your phone, which only you can access. These are called private keys and they’re authenticated by the biometrics you use to log in to that device – your fingerprint, or your phone’s facial recognition system.
When you log into an account, the site will create a public key which then requests your private key. Your matching passkey gives you access to your account, just like a password.
Password managers let you create and store complex passwords, meaning you always have a strong, unique and unguessable password for every site.
But the adoption of passkeys by a growing number of traditional password managers is likely to accelerate the move.
We’ve spent years implementing strong passwords. Will we miss them when they’re gone? Probably not…
Any move towards stronger security is always welcome and we don’t think it will be too long before most online accounts are using passkeys.
If you’d like any help to keep your business secure in 2023, get in touch.
Almost half of people with social media accounts have admitted to falling for shopping scams. So if members of your team are doing a little last minute Christmas shopping from work, how can you be sure your business is protected?
New research shows that a massive 47% of people have clicked on links hoping to get a great deal, and instead ended up giving financial and personal details to cyber criminals.
That could mean they’re not only putting their own data and money at risk, but your device – and even your network – could be exposed, too.
It’s not just shopping scams that are fooling people online. Phishing links have tricked 36% of people into revealing personal data. Phishing is where you get an email that seems to be from a person or brand you trust, but it’s not.
The same number have fallen for gift card scams – that’s where criminals gain victims’ trust and persuade them to buy gift cards or online vouchers.
If an employee clicks a malicious link or downloads an infected file using their work device, the results for a business can be devastating. The risks go beyond the loss of data and reputation. The cost of downtime while you get going again is enough to put many people out of business for good.
So how can you protect your business against this kind of scam – right now, and throughout the year?
As well as having the right cyber security tools in place – such as firewalls, antivirus software, and strong password management – you should stay focused on training your people. Because your best line of defense is a team that recognizes a threat when they see one.
Make sure they’re aware of the latest scams, and that they know the warning signs to look out for. Advise everyone to check that links are genuine, websites are the real deal, and be suspicious of offers that look too good to be true.
And have a strong plan in place that kicks in the moment a security breach is spotted. Employees should all know to report any incidents immediately, and who they should inform. Acting quickly often lessens the impact of a data breach and makes it faster and less expensive to fix.
As always, if you’d like further help or advice, get in touch.
You think Zoom, you think video calls. For millions around the world, it’s a tool they rely on at work every day.
But for productivity, collaboration and workplace integration (as well as video calls), it’s Microsoft Teams that’s leading the way. Its tight integration with other Microsoft 365 services makes it so easy.
Now Zoom is looking for a piece of that action with the launch of a whole suite of features and services. They’re clearly designed to take on Teams and Slack head-to-head.
These will include email, a calendar app, and a virtual co-working space called Zoom Spots. Meanwhile a bunch of upgrades to the Zoom One platform are aiming to improve collaboration, keep chats flowing, and keep projects moving.
While it feels like a logical step for the video conferencing giant, it remains to be seen how widely adopted the new services will be. And before we recommend it to our clients, we’ll want to know that the levels of support, reliability and security are all bulletproof.
Many businesses are already committed to Microsoft Teams, which releases its own improvements almost on a weekly basis. But this is an interesting new development and we’ll be watching what happens carefully.
If you want to know more about the best tools to keep your team working smoothly together, just get in touch.
We go to a lot of effort working to protect our clients from online security threats. These could come in the form of key loggers that record you as you enter your login information, or DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, which overwhelm a service with fake traffic, causing it to crash.
As part of our service, we always advise our clients to install software updates as soon as they become available, and support them through the process where they need help.
But if you visit a website that asks you to install an Adobe Flash update… STOP!
Flash itself was actually discontinued in 2020 and is no longer supported, so you should assume that any Flash update messages will be a security threat.
Currently, fake Flash messages are being used as a cover for a new ‘botnet’ campaign that installs a malicious browser extension, called Cloud9. If you use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge you could be a target.
A botnet forms a group of infected devices that are controlled as one, without the owners’ knowledge, stealing sensitive data, sending spam, or performing DDoS attacks.
Worse still, the Cloud9 botnet will attempt to install additional malware to your device or network if it’s not stopped in time.
This type of attack is hard to spot because it looks like a genuine request, and just about anyone can become a target.
But there are things you can do to protect your business.
First, make everyone aware of the threat. If your people know what to look out for it’s less likely they’ll install the update in the first place.
Next, make sure everyone’s running the latest version of their browser and that security software is up to date.
Finally, enable Enhanced Protection in your browser’s Privacy and Security settings. This will give you a warning if you stumble upon a risky website or download.
We can help you keep your business protected from cyber criminals. Just get in touch.
You could be losing a full-time working week for every member of your team, thanks to the hassle of setting up video calls.
Video conferencing has revolutionized team meetings, and saves a huge amount of travel time. But we’re still not getting the full benefit from the new technology, according to new research.
Employees aged between 18 and 24 take up to 10 minutes to get set up for each remote meeting.
Times that by a typical five meetings a week, and it’s suddenly lost you 40 hours every year. That’s a whole working week of wasted time – a figure that gets even higher when you look at older age brackets.
It isn’t necessarily a result of differing technological know-how. The research shows that employees blame the tech itself for the loss of productivity.
Almost a third of people said they didn’t have the right tools for the job, and 23% even said they felt excluded from remote meetings thanks to inadequate tech.
Employees often feel that the audio-visual (AV) technology they’re provided for remote and hybrid working simply isn’t up to the job. That means poor microphones that don’t play ball, jittery webcams that interfere with communication, or the wrong choice of video calling software. All that makes meetings harder to set up and causes them to take longer than they should.
Despite this, businesses that offer remote and hybrid working are reaping the rewards in many other areas, including staff engagement and performance.
But there is a solution.
Assess your employees’ AV technology to make sure their tools are not slowing them down – new webcams and microphones could be a cheap and simple fix.
It’s also a good idea to ask your employees to find out where they see that problems are occurring. If they are finding your existing system difficult to use, or slow to log in to, you should consider alternative options or better training.
If this is something that’s slowing you down, we can help – just get in touch.
A huge number of small and medium-sized businesses would consider using pirated software to try and save money. A new study has revealed a surprising number of businesses willing to break the law to save costs. Our advice? Think twice before you walk the plank.
Right now, the most popular types of pirated software are project management tools, and marketing and sales software. But a huge 56% of business owners said they’d even think about using illegal cyber security software in an effort to cut costs.
Don’t do it.
Not only is pirated software unsupported – so if you have a problem with it (which you probably will) there’s no help available to rectify the issue – but it can open your business up to bigger problems too.
It’s common for cyber criminals to use pirated software to distribute malware. Some of this is designed to evade firewalls, which means once installed, it can spread malicious files beyond your device to your entire network. That can lead to your sensitive data being compromised or stolen.
The cost of putting things right after this kind of cyber attack can end up costing a fortune, and the pirated software can damage your devices by causing them to slow down or overheat.
We advise our clients to always use genuine software from a reputable source. If the cost of the software seems too good to be true… it probably is.
But there’s more you can do. You should prevent unauthorized employees from downloading software that could be harmful by managing admin rights properly. And you should ensure your whole team has regular cyber security awareness training to make everyone aware of the risks to your business data.
If you’d like help finding genuine software for your business, or creating a cyber security plan, just get in touch.
Do you inwardly (or outwardly) groan at the thought of yet another video call?
They’re now a normal part of our working lives, but it doesn’t make them any more exciting.
Good news: Microsoft is introducing Metaverse-style avatars, called Mesh avatars, to Teams.
You’ll be able to design your own avatar, personalizing its appearance, accessories, and even choosing its reaction gestures.
According to Microsoft, it’s common for us to feel stressed and exhausted after spending a long time on camera. So using a virtual representation of yourself to reduce that stress is just one application for these new avatars.
Better still, you won’t need an expensive virtual reality headset. It’s all done using the Avatars app that’s available in the Microsoft Teams app store.
Big tech is investing billions on developing the Metaverse – a 3D virtual world that mimics the real world. Within it you’ll find many of the things you’re already familiar with – shops, workplaces, and even social spaces. Some are predicting it will become ‘the new internet’ in the coming years.
It might seem wild to imagine a virtual world like this – but 20 years ago it was hard to imagine routinely having a mobile video calls with someone on the other side of the world.
Times change, and it’s really exciting.
Right now the new avatar feature is only available in the Teams preview build, but we’ll get a general release date soon.
Will you encourage your people to use personalized avatars in Teams? Want to find more ways to make work more fun for your team? We can help. Get in touch.