March 10, 2016
Studies using 2020 as an apocalyptic landmark are thinner on the ground these days as we get closer to the actual year, so it’s great to see the old chestnut given another roasting in a new report from tech consultancy Infomentum. The headline stat from their new Beyond Digital report is that 91 percent of UK employees believe that new technology will mean that their current businesses will no long be competitive by 2020 unless they face up to the challenges of the digital economy. The report, based on a study of over 1000 office workers, examines how new technology is set to disrupt businesses and employment. Around 50 percent of respondents believe their employers will have to invest in new technology in order to fend off extinction. The survey also suggests that organisations resort to bandwagon jumping when it comes to new technology rather than assessing their needs before making decisions.
It’s not just businesses that are behind the times according to the report. The report also highlights the need for UK workforces to prepare for significant changes over the next five years. As new technologies come to replace a significant proportion of manual jobs, 61 percent of employees expect their own professions to become increasingly automated by 2020. According to Infomentum, this increased workload will most likely be driven by the mainstream use of flexible working technologies, further blurring the boundaries between work life and home.
Nearly 40 percent of respondents would like to be able to work flexibly outside of a traditional office, while 37 percent believed that their organisations will need to offer flexible working in order to stay competitive. Despite this fact however, nearly two thirds of employers still will not allow their employees to work from home, while 1 in 10 consider flexible working to be little more than a form of “skiving”. Men were also 12 percent more likely to be allowed to work from home than women, as well as being 8 percent more likely to secure flexible working hours.
Commenting on these findings, Vikram Setia, Chief Commercial Officer at Infomentum said, “As technological advancements reach a pace of near constant change, businesses must be more sensitive than ever to the way new technologies are affecting reputations and ultimately bottom lines. As we move towards 2020, this constant change is no longer something that businesses must prepare for, but rather a reality that all organisations must embrace. Businesses, employees and even governments will all be affected. Attempting to fight against this torrent of change is to try and fight the future itself. Improvements in technology, automation and efficiency are coming, the only thing we as businesses can do is embrace this fact and attempt to lead the change.”