As distributed workforces and hybrid work models become the reality of a new normal, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are looking to adopt new technologies for smart collaboration, increased efficiency, and lower downtimes. As enterprises seek to balance home and in-office work, IT leaders will need to show how collaboration technologies can help improve the employee experience. According to a global study from Lenovo, nearly half of SMB employees believe smarter technology eases collaboration, provides more efficient data processing, as well as greater access to information and supplemental resources.

The future of technology is bigger than speeds and feeds – it’s about the impact on the communities of the people that use their devices. Smart technology can unlock the power of society’s collective potential and creative ability by allowing knowledge to be easily shared and having diverse minds from different backgrounds collaborate. Together, we innovate with purpose and solve real, human problems and challenges of today and tomorrow through the help of smarter technology for all.

By prioritizing collaboration and equipping teams with flexible and reliable technology, SMBs can empower their employees to bring their best ideas to the table. Here are some tips to encourage businesses to provide a more inclusive and collaborative work environment.

Implement non-work related interactions to boost morale

With teams in various locations, employees must utilize technology to create those random office interactions. With 15 minutes of downtime, consider who you haven’t seen recently and take the opportunity to reach out and have a virtual “water cooler” chat. Taking a few minutes to chat with someone can shift your mood or workflow for the better. Never underestimate the healthy impact of a group chat or direct message.

Recognize family challenges and cultural differences

As senior leaders, it’s our job to make sure our teams feel connected and content. Part of this involves creating a work environment where various cultures and inspiring schools of thought can thrive. There are many cultures represented in the workplace so while a company may maintain a specific business culture, it is pertinent to be mindful of the individuals that make up your collective organizational culture. Working mothers make up a significant part of the labor force, accounting for nearly one-third (32 percent) of all employed women. Various cultural backgrounds also create different priorities for employees. By honoring these cultural differences and addressing their flexible technology needs, employees will feel supported and empowered to help the company succeed.

Acknowledge and support the needs of various generations in the workplace

One size does not fit all and this remains true for a multigenerational company. There are roughly four active generations in the workforce in 2021, each with unique characteristics and worldviews. Recent data from global communications agency, Zeno Group, identifies a new generation titled “Generation Disrupted.” According to the study, 76 percent of people ages 14 to 28 say their personal beliefs, values and character have been fundamentally altered by recent events. The values rising among this generation include: protecting family (72 percent), compassion (71 percent) and equality (70 percent), while status, power and wealth are falling (16, 15 and 11 percent, respectively), indicating this generation’s commitment to justice rather than individual accomplishment and personal gain. When cultivating an organizational structure, it’s important for business owners to align their culture and company objectives with the general worldviews and attitudes of their employees. Aligning smarter technology with individual strengths will help ignite a motivated and harmonious workplace.

Adopt affordable, innovative technology

As companies seek access to innovative tech, IT services and security solutions can make the difference between growth opportunities or status quo. Subscription-based models can offer emerging technology at a more manageable price. This transition will allow small business owners to acquire new technology tools, IT services as well as enhancing security. For SMBs specifically, device-as-a-service (DaaS) solutions can transform IT delivery, offering access to previously unaffordable technology, improve IT optimization and open new avenues for flexible and agile growth.

Ultimately, the best collaboration happens when diverse backgrounds join together to share their unique perspectives. By enhancing employee experiences through affordable, secure and reliable technology, SMBs can create and support inclusive working environments where there is a voice for all.

Lenovo’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, Small and Medium Business Segment, Intelligent Devices Group, Eric Yu, is responsible for the segment‘s global end-to-end business strategy and execution.  Learn more about Lenovo’s small business solutions here:

Diverse workplace stock photo by fizkes/Shutterstock