Workplace of the future still mostly in the future

Many enterprises today are aggressively embracing digital technologies such as mobile apps and collaboration software, as well as workspace strategies, such as desk hoteling and modular spaces, to be more productive and efficient.

But a survey report from TECHnalysis Research concludes that “most companies still have work environments, policies and tools rooted in the past.”

“Only a small percentage of companies actually embracing future workplace trends,” writes Bob O’Donnell, president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis.

The online survey of 1,001 working U.S. adults who use technology to do their jobs at medium and large companies (minimum 100 employees) shows that nearly half of their average 43-hour work week — or 19.6 hours — is spent in an office/cubicle. Only 3.3 hours a week are spent in “alternative workspaces” in the office, while 5.4 hours a week are spent in non-office workspaces and 4.6 hours a week at home.

So what’s holding up the transition to our futuristic collaborative/open space/flexible-hour workplace Nirvana? Noise, for one thing. “In one-quarter of external shared workspaces and one-fifth of internal shared workspaces, noise seriously impacts productivity,” O’Donnell writes. Only 12% of respondents said noise impacts productivity when their working in an office or cubicle.

More than half of all work (53.5%) is being done on enterprise-owned or personal desktop PCs — not even laptops(!), which were second at 11% of all work, followed by personal smartphones (7.5%) and work tablets (5.6%).

Most work-related communication is being conducted via older methods. Email is the top choice for communication with co-workers (38.5%) and outside contacts (33.7%), followed by phone (25.2% and 32.1%, respectively). A distant third in both categories is texting (11.6% and 12.2%).

The top method for collaboration with co-workers and outside contacts? It’s emailing documents, at 34.6% and 37.5%, respectively. Meanwhile, cloud-based collaboration is in the single digits.

Technological change typically outpaces the adaptive capacities of organizations and societies, but if you genuinely believe that more modern technologies and approaches to work will make enterprises and individuals more productive (and, in the latter case, happier), these numbers are disappointingly low.

On the other hand, if you’re an enterprise that isn’t yet far down the road toward digital transformation, these numbers spell opportunity.

RELATED LINKS

How to drive successful end-user adoption in the digital workplace

Productivity and collaboration require the right workplace environments

People science’ and other workplace trends to watch in 2017

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