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Better tech key to adapting to the hybrid workplace - Adobe

By Shannon Williams
Thu 14 Apr 2022

The past two years of remote work have no doubt been challenging, but they would have been far more difficult without access to the tools that have allowed people to remotely work, communicate, and collaborate during this time, according to Adobe.

With a mind to understand how the changes from mostly remote to hybrid work are impacting people and the role of technology plays, Adobe surveyed 1,400 employees and managers across large enterprises and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) about their views on hybrid work, technology, and the future of productivity to gauge how the evolving workplace is impacting everyone’s most valuable resource — their time.

The latest The Future of Time: Hybrid Workplace report examines the challenges and opportunities of this new work era.

The findings illuminate some of the biggest challenges facing employees today and offer guidance to organisations that want to ensure that their teams don’t get left behind as people venture into the future.

Technology matters more than ever

Hybrid work has been a boon for many information workers, allowing them to reap the benefits of remote work — reduce lengthy commutes and take back more personal time — while preserving important in-office functions like company culture and community.

The shift has also come with its share of challenges, particularly with regards to technology. Hybrid employees and managers who split time between home and office say that they spend around 5-7 hours each week troubleshooting or setting up technology. Of the biggest challenges transitioning to hybrid work, nearly 70 percent of employees cited technology — including set up, file collaboration, and troubleshooting issues like spotty in-office and home WiFi and editing shared documents among hybrid colleagues.

While tech has highlighted some hybrid hurdles to overcome, fortunately it has also played a critical role in addressing many of the significant productivity issues facing organisations today. Of the employees the company surveyed, many believe hybrid work would be impossible without access to modern digital tools, with 3 out of 4 saying that access to digital tools has had a positive impact on their transition to hybrid work.

Better tech can help bridge the employee-manager gap

As more companies roll out new return-to-office (RTO) policies, there is a clear disconnect between how managers and employees feel . 50% of employees and 30% of managers feel anxious, while double the number of managers say they are excited about returning over how employee responded (30% vs 15%, respectively). The reason is employees (1 out of 3) feel their manager or company designed return to work policies with little input from them.

Adobe found that a third of employees say they felt held back by managers who were using outdated technology or who struggled to use modern collaboration tools. Only 1 in 2 say they felt their manager is somewhat tech savvy. Indeed, many of these employees also report being more stretched for time and less productive at work because of technologically ineffectual systems.

Where managers and employees are aligned, is how digital-first, flexible mindsets can truly empower teams.

Both managers and employees are in favour of flexible work hours, paid time off (PTO) and sick days and upgrading existing technologies in the office to make hybrid work for everyone. What is clear is that companies need to recognise that these options are not one size fits all. Leaders are encouraged to listen to employees to understand what would empower them most and the working styles that make sense for their office.

Tech is key to addressing employee turnover

It is clear that the digital divide continues to fuel The Great Resignation. For example, 72 percent of employees and 88 percent of managers surveyed say that access to modern digital tools is a key factor when evaluating new jobs. The survey found that 61 percent of employees feel increased burnout as a result of team resignations, and that feeling was even higher among employees who said they didn’t have access to modern technology. Given that 1 in 3 employees say they are likely to pursue a new job in the next year, companies should consider upgrading their technology to make the hybrid workplace more productive and make everyone’s work more impactful, regardless of location.

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