2 December 2015
Talking about the future workplace seems to be all the rave recently. Apparently we are going to be replaced by robots very soon (see Fortune article). But before that, as we speak, more and more businesses are introducing new social technologies into the workplace. One example is emails, which are being shunned by businesses for new office-based social networking software (see a recent BBC article).
Here at Voxter we are interested in what your employees think about these trends. Do we welcome these technologies in the workplace? is the experience of those that use these technologies a good one? How do these technologies change the workplace?
We invited 160 employees from the UK to participate in our online deliberation and research tool Voxter. The discussion was about “Does technology improve engagement and communication in the workplace?“ and we used our technology to glean information about the questions above.
What we found surprised us. Here are the three main insights from our research.
From what people said, how they responded to others and from direct questions we have found to our surprise that a large majority of participants are very favourable to new technologies in the workplace.
On average more than 90% of respondents agreed with the top statements that were favourable to new social technologies. Those who already have social media at work agreed more strongly. A representative example of what people were saying is:
“Technology is a good way to communicate in the workplace, it can also help to speed up some day-to-day processes”
94% of those WITH social media at work strongly agree
79% of those WITHOUT social media at work strongly agree
With the prevalent suspicion of Google and Facebook’s use of private information we were expecting suspicion about what employees would do with the data generated by social media tools. To tease out some of these attitudes we injected some statements to see how people react:
“It’s bad enough that google and facebook have all this information about me, I don’t want my boss to have that information too! I don’t think these new technologies will help to engage workers.”
67% of those WITH social media at work agree
82% of those WITHOUT social media at work agree
This also came up in contributed statements:
“I think spying is one thing, but genuine interaction in between colleagues can actually bring issues and ideas to the surface and be very productive."
(responding to “The problem is that management just wants to spy on us. I am always suspicious of any new ‘cool’ technology tool they introduce.”)
97% of respondents agree
This insight really surprised us. Many participants contributed statements about how new social technologies empower people and especially those that might be disadvantaged otherwise. Here are some good examples:
“Technology can really help people with a range of physical and sensory difficulties. In the future many difficulties will be overcome through the use of technology.”
(responding to: “This is the best use of tech in helping people with problems to live a better life”)
100% of respondents agree
“As a person with a learning disability (dyslexia) i find the use of technology often evens things out as it gives me the ability to use spell check and grammar check.”
(responding to: “Technology helps disabled people to achieve near-equality with able-bodied people in the workplace”)
100% of respondents agree