People are happy at work but yearn for better tech and a second job

Happy at workThe recent riots across France sparked by mooted reforms to labour laws have been attributed to French workers objecting to the creation of working cultures akin to those in the UK and US. In which case, it would be interesting to see how our Gallic cousins might respond to the findings of a new report from Adobe which suggests that workers in both the UK and US as well as India see technology as the key perk they look for at work and many are perfectly happy to work more than one job and don’t expect long term commitments to (and from) their employers, although many of them also feel defined by what they do for a living and are happy at work. According to The Work in Progress report, a quarter of UK workers already moonlight and over two thirds believe that better technology would be the single most important way of improving their working lives. The same attitudes are also prevalent in responses from workers in both the US and India.

The survey of over 2,000 office workers in the three countries also found that 58 percent of UK respondents believe that having two or more jobs will be the norm in the future and that almost half (46 percent) claim that work now defines ‘who they are’. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of UK workers claim that access to technology to connect with colleagues more efficiently is the most important factor within their workplace. They ranked access to modern technology more important than lounge and relaxation areas, office design and access to on-site amenities, in terms of their overall workplace satisfaction.

The benefits of embracing technology also appear to go beyond employee morale, with 69 percent of UK workers feeling more productive at businesses that are up to date with the latest technology. However, it seems UK employers are still catching up with this trend as only 15 percent of UK workers believe that their company’s technology is sufficiently advanced.

Similar attitudes are evident in the US. A possibly surprising 70 percent of US office workers report loving their jobs, and access to cutting-edge technology is the top contributor to their overall satisfaction, above perks like food and slick office design. Moonlighting has also become mainstream, with one-third of respondents across income levels holding one or more jobs in addition to their primary profession. Those that report holding an additional job, whether for money or to pursue a passion, say they are more likely to feel happy and optimistic than those that don’t.

As in the UK, respondents say that technology, more than other flashier perks, is the most important factor in keeping them happy at work (81 percent). Access to state-of-the-art technology that helps people get their jobs done ranks higher than access to food and beverages (72 percent), a beautiful office design (61 percent) and on-site amenities (56 percent). Employees who said their company’s technology is ahead of the curve feel twice as creative, motivated and valued than those who say their company is behind the times. Yet only 1 in 4 employers is viewed as ahead of the curve when it comes to technology.

Not only did the majority of respondents report loving their jobs, but 8 in 10 would keep working even if they won the lottery – and among those who would keep working, more than half (51 percent) would stay at their current job. Although important, pay isn’t everything: 47 percent of respondents would move to their “ideal” job even for less pay.

“Employers may be focusing too much on ping pong tables and free dry cleaning, instead of technology that helps their employees feel motivated, valued and productive,” said Jeff Vijungco, vice president of global talent, Adobe. “Employers need to pay attention to productivity more than perks, and realize that their employees are happy to work when a company invests in their success.”

Other key findings from the study include:

Work a positive and a passion for many

  • 60 percent of UK workers ‘love’ their jobs, compared to 70 percent in the US and 83 percent in India
  • 68 percent said they would carry on working even after winning the lottery
  • 72 percent of UK workers would rather work long hours in the job they love than shorter hours in one they don’t enjoy
  • UK workers claim they spend 76 percent of their waking hours working or thinking about work on a typical working day. It seems this inability to disconnect continues over the weekend as 33 percent of UK workers waking hours are again spent working or thinking about work
  • Most US workers (76 percent) would rather work long hours doing the work they love, than shorter hours doing work they don’t enjoy.
  • Seventy-eight percent of waking hours on a workday are spent actively working or thinking about work for US workers, and 41 percent of waking hours on a typical day off are spent working or thinking about work.
  • More than half (57 percent) say work defines who they are.
  • Money plays a major role in why US staff go to work (88 percent), but they also want to be recognized as successful (60 percent) and to make an impact on their society or community (51 percent).

Tech remains a key requirement

  • 54 percent of UK workers claim that technology gives them the freedom to work when and where they want
  • 76 percent of UK workers claim that technology makes them more productive in the workplace
  • More than three-quarters (81 percent) of US respondents say technology that helps them connect to colleagues more efficiently is important to their ideal workspace.
  • US Workers believe technology makes them more productive (85 percent), improves work-life balance (70 percent) and would make their workday better and easier (74 percent).
  • US Workers predict that over half (53 percent) of menial office tasks will be done by a machine or technology in the next 20 years.

In Search of the Ideal Job

  • More than half of US workers (56 percent) predict that most people will have multiple jobs in the future.
  • Other than money, pursuing a passion is the number one reason moonlighters have a second job. Moonlighters in the US are more likely to be happy (78 percent) and more likely to be optimistic (78 percent) than non-moonlighters (72 percent and 73 percent, respectively).
  • Nearly 60 percent of US office workers say they’re likely to leave their job for a new opportunity, and even half of the respondents who love their job would make the switch.
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