(BPT) - Small businesses are important parts of communities and a key driving factor of the current economic recovery. Modern technology and workplace trends are transforming how these organizations are run, not only to increase productivity, but expand the possibilities of the future.
Ahead of the national celebration of Small Business Saturday, new research found that the United States is home to 32.5 million small businesses employing 46.8% of the private workforce, according to the 2021 Small Business Profiles from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Combine small and medium-sized businesses, and you cover the vast majority of companies in the country - a powerful economic force.
'We see a bright future ahead for businesses in 2022,' said Eric Yu, Lenovo senior vice president, small and medium business segment. 'Small to medium-sized businesses can utilize the best in technology to help overcome the challenges today and drive growth, engage employees and boost profits.'
Yu and the experts at Lenovo offer tips for SMBs based on their top technology predictions for 2022. Learn more at Lenovo.com.
1. Add hybrid workforce technology
Workplace culture continues to evolve with hybrid workforces here to stay. Technology is driving this momentum forward, enabling businesses of all sizes to remain agile and adaptable. SMBs should seek purpose-built technology solutions that bring equity, parity, presence and inclusion to hybrid work.
Emerging technology will also advance SMB growth, with augmented and virtual reality creating custom workplaces for employees, immersive training, efficient data analysis and enhanced productivity. Just imagine the possibilities of training employees virtually, tapping resources beyond what's available locally and removing the need to travel. Technology makes this a reality.
2. Enhance digital security
Digital threats are as much a concern for SMBs as they are for large companies. Whether it's private client data, proprietary company information or financial accounts, security must remain top of mind in 2022 as cybercriminals become savvier every day.
Prioritizing security with seamless authentication driven by artificial intelligence and biometric technology (such as fingerprint scans) will be key for SMBs as they further transition to public key infrastructure (PKI)-based device security, like those used today to access mobile banking applications, and multifactor authentication, for application and device access.
3. Invest in modern monitors
The desktop monitors SMB employees use can transform their work experience for increased comfort and capabilities. Investing in modern monitors makes sense, especially for remote employees and those in technology roles. For example, SMB employees can seamlessly multitask through modern desktop monitors that offer larger screen real estate and single cable management for easy connections.
What makes these monitors different? Next-generation monitors feature higher resolution, new aspect ratios such as ultra-wide and low blue light tech to reduce eye strain. Monitors will extend functionality for SMB employees as they can provide a docking hub for connection of other devices such as smartphones, speakers, headphones and tablets.
4. Upgrade your accessory ecosystem
Beyond modern monitors, other aspects of home office technology are transforming, too. Creating an up-to-date and efficient workspace at home is important for productivity but also for personal well-being. Providing employees with complementary tools that bridge the gap between home and office will elevate the experience and empower hybrid working trends.
When researching new accessories for SMB employees, consider the most common pain points of power anxiety, poor audio quality and physical stresses of inappropriate input devices resulting from longer working hours. Power banks, noise-canceling headphones certified for unified communications platforms and ergonomic mice and keyboards will become more mainstream in 2022, allowing teams at SMBs to improve their work-from-anywhere capabilities and productivity.
5. Support agility and flexibility
The growth of hybrid and remote workplaces has elevated the need for work tools that allow employees to work when and where they want. Evolving form factors and better connectivity will become more ubiquitous, allowing SMB employees to set up shop almost anywhere. This flexibility can add strain to IT resources, and impact business capital expense.
SMBs need to consider as-a-service subscription-based models, not just for hardware but to support their solution lifecycle. Successful businesses will embrace this trend and seek vendors with end-to-end capabilities to securely deploy to remote users, offer hardware and software managed services and provide end-user tech support. As-a-service solutions reduce pressure on capital, allowing SMBs to redirect investment into new growth opportunities.