Name a couple of things you use every day that will be obsolete by the time you retire. According to the results of a recent study, two-thirds of the respondents put keyboards and mice in that category.
The study, dubbed the 2014 “Global Evolving Workforce Study,” was commissioned by Dell and Intel, and conducted by TNS, a global market research firm. Aimed at uncovering trends around employees’ technology adoption, the study surveyed nearly 4,800 full-time employees in small, medium and large-sized organizations across 12 countries and nine industries. I had the opportunity to discuss the findings with Steve Lalla, a Dell vice president and general manager, and I asked him what in the findings he found most surprising. He said the most surprising trend they found was that the 9-to-5 workday is becoming a thing of the past:
Out of the respondents surveyed globally, 64 percent of employees conduct at least some business at home after business hours. Employees in emerging countries are increasingly expected to be accessible at home, with 83 percent indicating they check work email after hours, compared to 42 percent in developed markets. This means that businesses and employees need to be more efficient and effective on their own terms, and that employers enable this flexibility through technology and providing access to critical data outside of the office.
So did the survey dispel any myths? Lalla said for all the talk about remote working and the office being a thing of the past, the vast majority of people spend at least some time in their employer’s office:
On average, employees in developed markets are spending 32 hours per week in the office, compared to 26 hours for employees in emerging markets. The rest of the time is made up of working in a variety of places, including public places such as a coffee shop, a client’s office, or working from home. What has changed, though, is the attitudes toward those working from home. Fifty-two percent of people believe that those working from home are just as productive as or more productive than those in the office. When we did this survey in 2011, 64 percent believed that their productivity was measured by time spent in the office.
I asked Lalla what Dell learned from the survey findings that it didn’t already know. His response:
Regarding the changing dynamics around how people work, along with the broad range of devices they have access to, the focus has increasingly turned to mobile. This focus on mobility has influenced our security and management offerings to support this emerging environment. For example, we learned that more than half of workers are authorized by their employers to use personal devices for work—mostly desktops, laptops or smartphones. However, only half of these devices are secured by the employer, potentially putting confidential company information at risk.
Lalla went on to explain that many employees place value on being productive over following the rules. And as might be expected, he mentioned that Dell provides tools that can help address that problem:
Forty-three percent of workers use personal devices, mostly smartphones, for work without their employers’ knowledge. This is particularly true of emerging markets, where 61 percent use personal devices in secret. Given the high-profile security breaches we witnessed in 2014, companies need better policies and holistic IT solutions to protect intellectual property and consumer data. There are tools to help—for example, Dell Enterprise Mobility Management provides simplified, secure access to enterprise phone, email and storage services from an employee’s personal Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, and streamlines mobile/BYOD enablement. The Dell Data Protection suite can also help, by encrypting user data to protect against zero-day threats—for example, threats people have no way of hearing or knowing about—and it's even able to protect data in motion, from client to client.
Lalla shared other interesting insights, including an assessment of how this type of research helps guide Dell’s strategy, and what’s changed since Dell last conducted this survey in 2011. I’ll cover those in a forthcoming post.
A contributing writer on IT management and career topics with IT Business Edge since 2009, Don Tennant began his technology journalism career in 1990 in Hong Kong, where he served as editor of the Hong Kong edition of Computerworld. After returning to the U.S. in 2000, he became Editor in Chief of the U.S. edition of Computerworld, and later assumed the editorial directorship of Computerworld and InfoWorld. Don was presented with the 2007 Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity by American Business Media, and he is a recipient of the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for editorial excellence in news coverage. Follow him on Twitter @dontennant.