A recent study from Aruba has said that employees who work in digital workplaces are not only more productive but also more motivated, have higher job satisfaction, and report an overall better sense of well-being. Being a complete sceptic Shh-business felt it our job to find out more…
The study, The Right Technologies Unlock the Potential of the Digital Workplace, claims both the business and human benefits of more digitally-driven workplaces, and how companies that are less technologically advanced are at risk of falling behind the competition and not attracting top talent. It also notes that companies must be vigilant as more digital-savvy employees are taking greater risks with data and information security.
What are the findings?
Surprisingly, the study of 7,000 employees across 15 countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), revealed a clear chasm in employee performance and sentiment between more advanced digital workplaces and those that employ digital technology to a lesser degree. A number of key themes emerged:
- Beyond productivity, digital tools unlock human benefits: “Digital Revolutionaries” – employees identified as those who work in fully-enabled digital workplaces where new workplace technologies are in widespread use – were 51% more likely to have strong job satisfaction, and 43% more likely to be positive about their work-life balance than “Digital Laggards” – those who have less access to workplace technology. The Revolutionary employees were also 60% more likely to say they are motivated at work, and 91% more likely to praise their company’s vision.
- Digital working also supports professional development: 65% of Revolutionaries reported they had seen professional development and growth through the use of digital technology, compared to just 31% of Laggards. With a digital workplace, 72% of Revolutionaries reported a higher ability to adopt new work skills as compared to 58% of Laggards.
- Productivity gains from digital technology quantified: 73% of Digital Revolutionaries reported a positive impact on their productivity and 70% cited improved collaboration thanks to digital technologies, vs. 55% of laggards.
- Continued advancements in digital technology and automation pave the way for better workplace experiences: While automation can be perceived as a threat to job security, our research found that there was widespread enthusiasm for it. 71% of respondents said they would welcome a fully automated workplace in the future, allowing organizations to build smarter, more effective working environments.
There was a cautionary tale for business leaders though…
The study also found that employees are enthusiastic about new technology and have a desire for their employers to provide more. Almost all respondents (93%) thought their work would be improved through greater use of technology, while 64% said their company will fall behind the competition if new technology isn’t implemented. The same portion (64%) believe the traditional office will become obsolete due to advances in technology.
- Globally, 69% of respondents said their companies have invested in digital workplace tools in the past year, and interest is growing in a new generation of technologies including smart building tools that automate temperature controls and lighting (24%), voice-activated and wireless AV technology (23%), and custom corporate mobile apps (23%).
- Most respondents thought digital technology would result in a more efficient (56%), more collaborative (52%) and more appealing (47%) work environment.
While the benefits of digital workplaces are wide-ranging, the study also revealed that cybersecurity is a challenge for employers.
- Although employees reported higher levels of cybersecurity awareness (52% think about security often or daily), they also admitted to taking more risks with company data and devices, with 70% admitting to risky behaviours such as sharing passwords and devices.
- A quarter (25%) of employees have connected to potentially unsafe open Wi-Fi in the past twelve months, 20% said they use the same password across multiple applications and accounts, and 17% admitted to writing down passwords in order to remember them.
Gamal Emara, Country Manager, UAE at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company says, “Our research shows that digital workplace trends in UAE are in line with global trends. Organizations in the country and the larger Middle East region need to understand that more digitally-driven workplaces not only foster productivity but employee wellbeing, motivation and job satisfaction. The organizations that capitalize on implementing a digitally-enabled workplace will gain a competitive edge, by helping employees finish tasks quicker as well as making the process more collaborative and enjoyable.”
“Simultaneously, companies need to be aware of the growing information security threats that are now a routine problem for increasingly connected organizations. Our findings suggest that the problem is as much about human failures as it is digital workplace design.”
This is what you need your company to do
These findings indicate that companies must adapt to leverage the benefits of new digital workplace technology while simultaneously minimizing security risks. Aruba recommends companies:
- Adopt a digital workplace strategy: IT departments need to work with business managers, end-users and other stakeholders to define a roadmap for their digital workplace evolution. This includes moving beyond established technologies to deploying new tools such as smart sensors and customized mobile apps that will create increasingly personalized workplace experiences.
- Build collaborative digital workspaces: Companies need to think about how the digital workplace extends beyond their head office to support remote workers, partners, and customers. IT leaders need to plan for, and invest in, a working environment without borders. Speaking with their employees is a good starting point!
- Incorporate security from the ground up: Companies must architect the digital workplace with security as an integral part of the design, taking into account the role of human error as well as bad actors. To achieve the optimum security that can adapt to change and unknowns, IT must look to emerging technologies in networking, cloud computing, AI and machine-learning.