While technology is a top priority for Asia-Pacific (APAC) professionals, nearly three quarters of Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) businesses are only somewhat or not at all focused on leveraging technology, according to new research by Adobe.
The Future of Work: APAC Study engaged almost 5,000 office workers from 10 countries across the region and examined how the roles of people, experiences and machines are transforming workplaces.
Adobe is also currently hosting a discussion on these topics and more this afternoon at 2pm (AEST) called ‘Think Tank: The Future of Work’, which can be viewed live below.
Workplace technology key to market success
Along with highlighting the critical role of technology in building positive employee experiences, the survey indicated that organisations investing in workplace technology are more likely to be successful in the APAC market.
The survey found 89 per cent of employees who rate their companies as above-average business performers also believe their companies are technology-focused, compared to 64 per cent for those who said their company is a below-average performer.
In fact, employees of successful businesses are over two times more likely to rate their organisation as ‘extremely focused’ on technology, when compared to those who rate their companies as below-average performing businesses.
While technology was cited as a top priority for APAC professionals, the survey found 72 per cent of (ANZ) businesses are only somewhat or not at all focused on leveraging technology to enable productivity and better employee experiences.
Furthermore, 16 per cent of ANZ professionals see technology as an enabler of automating menial tasks to save time.
This is less than the APAC average (23 per cent), indicating that ANZ professionals are behind when it comes to recognising the full potential of technology to overcome business challenges.
Mark Henley, director of transformation and digital strategy at Adobe for the APAC region, said in the current experience business era, smart organisations are realising that outstanding customer experiences hinge on their ability to attract the best people.
“As a result, businesses today must strategically invest in workplace technologies to drive productivity and deliver a compelling experience for employees,” he said.
Man v machine
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have helped automate an increasing number of work functions that are changing the productivity paradigm.
While 34 per cent ANZ professionals said they were anxious about the impact of these new technologies on their jobs, they are significantly more optimistic about these technologies compared to their APAC counterparts.
Adobe’s research found that 73 per cent of APAC professionals are somewhat or extremely concerned about the impact of new technologies.
However, 94 per cent survey respondents across the APAC express interest in trying artificial intelligence technologies to automate mundane work-related tasks.
Millennials drive innovation
While technology spearheads innovation at workplaces, young workers are also driving positive transformation across organisations.
Respondents stated that sparking creative thinking and innovative projects, creating diverse and open-minded environments, and propagating social media use and engagement are top ways younger workers are driving change.
“Millennials comprise a significant proportion of the total workforce in APAC, and are changing workplaces across the region,” Henley said.
“These discerning new-age workers are not only leading the innovation charter at companies, but most importantly, becoming the torchbearers of diversity and use of technology at work.”
Enabling work-life balance in mega-cities
The survey found that technology is critical to enabling work-life balance for office workers across the APAC region.
Sixty-two per cent of office workers surveyed were based in major metropolitan cities with populations of more than five million.
Almost two-thirds of these office workers rated the wide availability of job opportunities, lifestyle choices, and infrastructural facilities as top reasons behind choosing to live in the region’s major cities.
These respondents cited crowded public transport and long travel times for short distances as their biggest pain points from working in a big city.
They picked 24/7 availability and the ability to work across all their devices as the most important ways by which technology can accelerate their productivity.
“Rapid economic evolution and unprecedented growth opportunities have positioned APAC at centre stage of the disruption being created by digital technologies,” Henley said.
“On one hand, the workforce is seeing tremendous opportunities for career advancement, and on the other, facing challenges emerging from widespread urbanisation across its major cities.”
Here are the other key findings from Adobe’s The Future of Work: APAC Study:
- Nearly 95 percent of respondents across APAC would continue to work even if they won the lottery, and almost 55 percent would continue in the same job.
- Supporting their lifestyle choices and families were the top two contributors to survey respondents’ overall motivation to work.
- Following salary and perks, the ability to advance was the highest-ranked motivational factor for office workers in their current roles. Respondents in Australia and NZ are strongly motivated by focus on innovation and blue-sky projects
- 66 percent of office workers who live in major cities cited availability of job opportunities as a key factor. At 20 per cent, the high cost of living in the APAC’s major cities was voted the least important factor in their decision to choose their work location.
- 15 per cent of APAC office workers felt their organisations were not at all focused on driving new ideas and innovative projects, compared to 30 per cent who felt their organisations are extremely focused.