Businesses typically might wait as long as they can before replacing PCs and laptops, but Microsoft is hoping customers do it sooner rather than later.
Microsoft's Surface laptop business ran a survey with YouGov in the UK and found that 66% of workers with company-owned laptops or tablets are still using the same device they had when the COVID-19 lockdowns started last March.
Microsoft's Surface teams say the finding in the UK "raises concerns that the lack of device refreshes is hitting productivity" as businesses adopt hybrid working.
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"More than a third (35%) of employees who received new devices since the onset of COVID-19 reported a resulting increase in their productivity. Meanwhile, most employees have "made do" with the same device while working remotely," Microsoft said in a statement.
"Employees want upgrades that better suit their individual needs -- as remote-working arrangements that started as temporary measures have become the norm. Their company's IT teams, which initially purchased devices to help staff work from home during the pandemic but then shelved routine upgrades, now feel the same way."
The survey found that employees feel they are not being listened to when it comes to new devices. Half of them believe devices are provided based on job role alone – with individual requirements not considered as standard. Only one in three feel their individual needs and accessibility requirements are taken into consideration, a number that drops to 17% for frontline workers.
There also appears to be some confusion among employees regarding the decision-making process, with nearly three in 10 employees (29%) admitting they are unsure how devices are allocated.
There are several factors at play here in Microsoft's pitch to business. Companies are moving to hybrid work after a year of largely remote work, which means some sectors have stalled hardware purchases after a splurging on devices last year. And of course, Windows 11 has just arrived.
Microsoft says businesses won't be left behind due to the hardware requirements for Windows 11, but adoption is still relatively slow.
Windows 11 has been out for mainstream users since October 5, but it hasn't been widely adopted yet. Windows 10 reaches end of life on October 14, 2025.
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Microsoft has also introduced stringent minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11, which excludes many PCs bought before 2018. It's also released the PC Heath Check app to help people determine whether their PC is ready for the upgrade. Windows 10 hardware that is unsupported can install Windows 11, but those machines will lack Microsoft's standard support. PCs need to have TPM 2.0 enabled, 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and a dual-core CPU.
Microsoft surveyed over 1,000 IT decision makers for its Surface survey.
Tech industry analyst Net Strategy reported this week that Chromebook sales, which were buoyed by remote work and education for the past year, slowed in the last quarter. However, PC shipments still grew a respectable 8% year on year, with Dell -- the third-largest PC vendor -- growing shipments by 50% year-on-year because businesses started buying hardware for offices again.