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Australia and New Zealand behind when it comes to leveraging new tech

12 Dec 2017

Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) employees working in Asia Pacific (APAC) rate access to cutting-edge technology in the workplace above other perks like food and slick office design.

This is a key finding from Adobe’s The Future of Work: APAC Study which surveyed almost 5000 office workers from 10 countries across the region, examining how the roles of people, experiences and machines are transforming workplaces.

Technology-focused equals business success

Overall, along with highlighting the critical role technology plays in building positive employee experiences, the research indicates that organisations investing in workplace technology are more likely to be successful in the APAC market than those that don't.

In fact, 89% of respondents who rate their companies as above average in business performance also believe their companies are technology focused.

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.

Leveraging new technologies

Technology was cited as the top priority for APAC professionals.

However, what’s interesting is that 72% of ANZ businesses are ‘not at all focused’ or ‘somewhat focused’ on leveraging technology to empower productivity and improve employee experiences.

Furthermore, only 16% of ANZ professionals consider technology to be an ‘enabler of automating menial tasks to save time.’

So where does this put ANZ in relation to the wider APAC market?

ANZ falls below the APAC average of 23% for leveraging technology, 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, Asia Pacific, comments, “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.”

Man vs machine

Nearly 1 in 3 (34%) of ANZ professionals surveyed state that they are “anxious about the impact” of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

However, they are significantly more optimistic about these technologies compared to their APAC counterparts; 73% of APAC professionals say they are either 'somewhat' or 'extremely concerned' about the impact of new tech.

Millennials drive innovation

While technology spearheads innovation at the workplace, the report finds that young employees are also driving positive transformation.

Some of the top ways young workers are driving change across the organisation include by sparking creative thinking and innovative projects, creating diverse and open-minded environments, and propagating social media use and engagement are top ways younger workers.

Henley adds, “Millennials comprise a significant proportion of the total workforce in APAC and are changing workplaces across the region.”

“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

62% of respondents were based in major metropolitan cities, with populations of more than 5 million, and the survey finds that technology is critical to enabling work-life balance for office workers across APAC. 

Henley adds, “Rapid economic evolution and unprecedented growth opportunities have positioned APAC at centre stage of the disruption being created by digital technologies.”

Almost two-thirds of these office workers rated the wide availability of job opportunities, lifestyle choices, and infrastructural facilities as top reasons for choosing to live in the region’s major cities.

Henley says that 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.

The report identified the biggest pain points for respondents working in a big city as crowded public transport and long travel times for short distances.

These respondents named 24x7 availability and the ability to work across all their devices as the most important ways technology can accelerate their productivity.

The Future of Work: APAC Study included more than 4,700 APAC office workers who use a computer daily for work. The research was conducted from October 17 to November 13, 2017.

The survey included working professionals from various sectors across 10 countries - Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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