• Workplace technology lags behind personal technology on innovation
  • Most UK employees do not expect to be working in a smart office in the next five years, in contrast to global trend
  • 77% of millennials would take or decline a new position based on the technology on offer
  • A fifth of the UK workforce would quit due to poor workplace technology
  • Working outside of the office makes employees happier - 87% of UK remote workers confirm that they are happy in their jobs
  • Half of UK employees would try augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) at work

Dell today unveiled the UK findings[i] from the Dell and Intel Future Workforce Study, which identifies the global technology trends shaping the modern workplace. The results show that while the majority of UK employees are happy with their jobs, almost half of them believe their current employer is not effectively making use of the latest advances in technology.

The 2016 Future Workforce Study, conducted by research firm PSB, polled nearly 4,000 full-time employees from small, medium and large businesses in 10 countries. In contrast to the global trend, the plurality of respondents in the UK (43%) do not believe that they will be working in a smart office within the next five years and more than a third (36%) perceive their current workplace technology as lagging behind personal devices on innovation. The research shows that the influx of new technology is having a significant impact on what workers expect from their employer. With one in five employees now ready to quit if workplace technology is not up to scratch, workplaces which do not enact these new advances may be left behind.

Despite that focus on technology, UK employees are still creatures of habit, with 2 out of 3 preferring in-person interactions at work and 84% saying that they are important for productivity. That is in contrast to the global trend where face-to-face communication is less desirable. However, millennials, the future of the UK workforce, are keenly influenced by the technology available to them at work. That generation is more adept at working remotely, a trend that is closely linked to happiness at work, and they also have a greater propensity to contribute to the ‘sharing economy’.

There is a huge opportunity for UK businesses to empower and retain their employees through technology with augmented and virtual reality cited as areas of interest by half of UK employees. If businesses can unlock the potential in these technologies, the future is bright.

"Today’s workforce has a growing expectation that their employers integrate the latest technologies seamlessly and securely into their working lives," said PJ Dwyer, Vice President, Client Solutions, Dell EMEA. "Employees have seen first-hand the ways new technologies can help them do their jobs better, and are hungry to use the latest advancements to be more productive. While this may seem daunting to many employers, it’s a business-critical opportunity for companies to be at the forefront of the future workplace and enable the future workforce." 

Study highlights:

  • Results show that 47% of employees in the UK feel their office technology is not smart enough. While workers are ready for businesses to implement the latest technologies to make their offices smarter with data used to control office temperature, lighting, etc., they do not expect it to happen within the next five years. 36% of UK employees also say their home technology is more cutting edge than their technology at work.

  • Remote working is increasingly viewed as providing both quality of life and productivity benefits, and technology is seen as an essential enabler. Evolving technology has already had a huge impact on modern lifestyles and a remarkable 87% of UK remote workers confirm that they are happy in their job. Technology has allowed people to change their lifestyles and, in turn, this has affected their work styles and preferences. With these changes, employers should think about offering more flexible work arrangements to keep up with this evolution to cater to the mobile worker. 
    Employees are also aware that the advances that allow these new working arrangements to exist will require new security and infrastructure; 47% of UK respondents list advanced security protection as the single most important technology to be implemented in their workplace.

 

  • Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) innovations could impact the workplace sooner than we think as half of employees in the UK would be willing to use VR/AR in their professional lives. The most frequently cited user cases for the new technologies include training on new skills in realistic virtual environments (24%), problem solving or coming up with new ideas through 3D visualisation (15%) and presenting to clients using immersive technologies (11%).

Additionally, over half of millennials (54%) and remote workers (50%) in the UK believe that the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) will make their jobs easier by eliminating complex repetitive tasks.

  • When it comes to acquiring and retaining talent, technology matters. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that one fifth (20%) of the UK workforce would quit their jobs if the technology provided by their employer is seen as substandard. 7 in 10 millennials in the UK also say that a new job’s available technology would affect their decision on whether to take or decline the position.

Supporting Quotes:

  • “There is an informed appetite amongst the UK workforce for technology as a real work benefit,” said Leslie Willcocks, professor, Technology Work and Globalisation, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). “The workforce would like more - to make them more mobile, productive and flexible - but not at the expense of losing important, if less frequent, face-to-face conversations with colleagues. Getting this balance right is a delicate process and I suspect UK employers need to work harder at focusing on the really useful and strategic pieces of technology and software that employees now see as a necessary adjunct to their workspaces. Interestingly, despite the high profile scare stories, the majority of employees do not see automation and AI as taking their jobs. My own research into the field shows that employees at every level are facing dramatic increases in work, and welcome automation as helping them to cope with this. Certainly, as highlighted by the Dell & Intel Future Workforce study, people see a modern workplace with newer, relevant, secure technology as one key to a satisfactory working life.”

  • "The Future Workforce Study underlines the significant cultural shift taking place right now in how individuals approach their professional lives and their desired office experience," said Jon Slavet, general manager, WeWork. "At WeWork, our members demand an experience that provides substance and meaning and the ability to collaborate in a thoughtful way, either commercially or for the greater good, with their neighbours. From start-ups and entrepreneurs to large companies like Dell, WeWork provides a beautiful space, thriving community, services and amenities that encourage collaboration, contributes to the community and allows our members to achieve their goals. This research points directly to the need for a fresh, more digitally focused approach to workplace collaboration."

  • "The massive changes that are occurring in the workplace are like a tale of two cities; those companies that are modernising, especially with mobility, will attract and retain top talent, those who don’t will create employee frustration, lower productivity and employee unhappiness," said Bob Egan, chief analyst, founder, Sepharim Research Group. "The Future Workforce Study discovered that millennials are driving massive changes in how and where work gets done, use multiple devices, and prefer to work away from a traditional office. The result is an important mandate for CIOs to modernise the infrastructure, redefine their security perimeter and device provision strategies."

About the Future Workforce Study
Dell and Intel commissioned PSB to conduct the Future Workforce Study with 3,801 full-time employees (work over 35 hours a week) of small, medium and large-sized organisations—distributed across 10 countries (US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, China, India, Canada and South Africa) and seven target industries (education, government, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, media & entertainment and retail). The quantitative survey was conducted between April 5 and May 3, 2016. For an in-depth look at the research, please visit
www.Dell.com/workforcestudy and check out #FutureWorkforce via social media

About Dell

Dell Inc. listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit www.dell.co.uk.

Contact Information

Media Contacts:

Sally Moore

Dell

+44 (0) 7936 210 767

Sally_Moore@DellTeam.com

Ben Wilsker

AxiCom

+44 (0) 208 392 4073

Ben.Wilsker@axicom.com

[i] Dell and Intel Future Workforce Study 2016. Dell and Intel commissioned Penn Schoen Berland to carry out the quantitative survey between April 5 and May 3, 2016. 3,801 full-time employees (work over 35 hours a week) of small, medium and large-sized organisations were surveyed, across 10 countries, including the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, China, India, Canada and South Africa.

 

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