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NZ Employees Do Not Feel Empowered for the Digital Age

New Zealand Employees Do Not Feel Empowered for the Digital Age: Microsoft Study

69% consider themselves mobile workers today yet only 31% feel empowered by their organisation to embrace the demands of the digital workplace

New Zealand, 10th August 2017 – Microsoft today unveiled findings of its Asia Workplace 2020 Study[1][2], where it found that employees in New Zealand do not feel empowered to embrace the demands of the digital workplace.

While 69% of New Zealand respondents consider themselves to be mobile workers and spend at least 20% of their time working outside of their offices, only 31% feel empowered by their organisation’s culture and managers to be able to work together productively and collaboratively. In addition, only 24% of respondents agree that their organisation is committed at a leadership level to ensure every employee is included in closing the digital skills gaps within the workforce.

The study, which involved close to 4,200 working professionals from 14 markets in Asia, sought to understand shifting employee behaviours and gaps in the workplace when it came to productivity, collaboration and flexi-work practices. This included 321 respondents from New Zealand.

“As Asia primes itself to become the most connected market with more than half of all mobile connections originating from the region by 2021[3], organisations need to rethink how they empower their workforce with the right culture, policy, infrastructure and tools to maximise their potential. This means enabling collaboration from anywhere, on any device. However, it is also critical for business leaders to evaluate and implement changes to counter cultural and management challenges that are hindering employees to work seamlessly from wherever they are, which will in turn, hinder an organisation’s growth and progress in the digital age,” said Mark Walton, Microsoft New Zealand’s Cloud Productivity Business Leader.

New Work Styles and Organisational Conflicts Need to Be Addressed

It is evident that mobile professionals in New Zealand are embracing flexi-work today, and organisations should look at new workplace practices, especially with the impeding influx of digital natives (born after 2000) entering the workforce for the first time.

More than half of the respondents (68%) value work-life integration today, where the boundaries of work and life have blurred, but have enabled mobile professionals to be able to collaborate and work virtually.

The study also found that organisations need to address several structural challenges within the workplace to ready themselves for the digital age, as well as flexi-work practices:

1. Organisation’s Leaders are a key enabler to drive flexi-work practices in the workplace: Only 24% agree that their organisation’s leadership is committed in bridging the digital skills gap in the workplace.
2.
3. Organisational culture is important: Only 28% agree that their organisation has invested in culture development through training and development led by HR
4.
5. Access to newer, data-centric technologies to enhance collaboration and productivity: Only 22% feel that their organisation has invested in analytics and data tools to help them make informed and timely decisions; only 27% agree that their organisation has given them tools to simplify workflows
6.
New World of Teams Requires New Approaches

Workplace shifts have undeniably resulted in new ways of work, where technologies have enabled increased collaboration between individuals and teams across geographies and groups. However, the study found that there were certain gaps today that hindered collaborative and productive outcomes from teams.

The top challenges included:

1. Too many face-to-face meetings taking up productive time (22%) andTeams are taking too long to respond to internal issues (22%);
2.
3. Teams are too rigid and not open to new ways of work (20%) and
4.
Teams are made up of individual go-getters rather than team players (20%);

3. Team members are not accommodating with flexi-work schedules (18%)
4.
However, respondents feel that support from managers (42%), strong leadership and vision (40%) and management that is open and embraces new ideas (35%) can help build more collaborative teams.

Access to Newer, Collaborative Technologies will Enhance Productivity

When asked about emerging technologies that will help build better work environments by 2020:

• 33% look forward to real-time intelligence that will help them make informed decisions at work

• 25% would like virtual workspaces that support Instant Messaging and document sharing

• 22% think Artificial Intelligence will be able to help perform tasks independently

“As the nature of work changes, how employees collaborate and work together will be impacted as well. It is critical for business and HR leaders to seek ways to better empower individuals and remove barriers to collaborate for the digital age, especially when the study clearly identifies gaps that can be minimised with technology. However, it is also important for businesses to also bridge the leadership and employee gap with more focus on people and culture,” said Walton.


ENDS


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