The future is technology enabled, but humans will still play a vital role in business for years to come, Dell end-user survey reveals
Working from home may not be the future of employment after all, new research has revealed, with the majority of British professionals actually seeing it just as a perk of the job.
A new survey from Dell and Intel has in fact revealed that many employees say getting access to the latest technology is the key to them staying happy at their jobs, with four out of ten saying that they would be prepared to switch companies if they were offered the use of their favoured technology.
“The interesting point is that, if you’re joining a company or starting a career, how important is the technology that is available to you? The reality is that it’s actually very important,” Margaret Franco, executive director for digital and client solutions marketing, Dell EMEA, told TechWeek Europe.
Overall, 44 percent of respondents said that having access to the latest technology is very important, especially as bring your own device (BYOD) working becomes ever more widespread. Dell’s survey found that British employees use a large number of devices at work, encountering multiple smartphones, tablets or PCs throughout their day.
“It’s also about how do we enable them to be productive,” added Stuart Dommett, Intel’s head of business marketing for Northern Europe, “so it’s not about necessarily attracting and retaining them, but getting the most out of people. Because if we enable people to work differently, they think different and bring different assets into the workplace.
Far from seeing computers and connected machines as a threat to their jobs, the majority of UK respondents actually believe human workers will continue to be an important resource for years to come, with 73 percent saying that some things are ‘just done better’ by people.
“People matter, “ says Dommett, “We can push technology as we want and companies can buy it, but unless they think about people, and the employees are brought into that loop, will they adopt or change?”
“There’s so much good technology out there, and so much opportunity, but it’s moving at a faster rate than ever.”
Technology was viewed as a key enabler for many workers, with 46 percent saying that technology has increased their productivity and enabled them to communicate faster. Phone and email were cited as the most popular means of communication, beating out Instant Messaging services, as workers took advantage of real-time collaborative systems to make changes and improvements quickly and easily.
“The future is technology enabled – it is absolutely technology technology-enabled,” says Franco.
Better than expected
The UK was expected to be extremely progressive in terms of its attitudes towards fully embracing technology and new working practices such as working from home, but surprisingly, this was not the case.
However Dell’s survey of 502 UK end users, from IT decision makers to HR professionals and other business decision makers, found that UK workers actually prefer to work in a central office, with 97 percent of British respondents saying it was their primary place of work.
This appears to be a very British trait, as over three quarters (76 percent) believing that a physical office will remain a part of their working environment throughout their lifetime. This was much higher than many other countries surveyed by Dell, with the UK highlighted for its favouring of collaborative office environments.
Just under half (46 percent) also saw working from home as just as, or more productive, than working from the office, showing that HR departments need to be willing to accommodate the demands of their employees.
Lack of immediate communication with co-workers was also highlighted as one of the major issues troubling working from home, with employees also missing out on vital networking and team-building opportunities as well.
Overall, the ability to work from home was seen as a perk of their job, as people look to ensure an even balance between their work and personal lives, with 83 percent of respondents saying that working from home was an ‘extra benefit’ of their job.
Although those who did work from home enjoyed less stress, more sleep and drove less, they did tend to snack more and work out less, suggesting a physical detriment to not being in the office alongside a productivity issue.
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