The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a spotlight on technology as an enabler of work with many organisations turning to its use for flexible and remote working. However, these circumstances have also revealed other issues such as productivity, work–life balance, workforce engagement and wellbeing which must all be considered when new technology use is introduced in the workplace.
Taken together with the broader theme of increasing digitisation and technical advancement, organisations and people professionals need to understand how workplace technology is impacting their workforce if they are to drive and support the best outcomes for their people and business.
The Workplace technology: the employee experience report builds on several studies by the CIPD, which collectively consider the rise of new technologies and the effects they have on work and the workforce. On this page you’ll find key insights from the report, recommendations for people teams and related content to help you better understand how technology can be leveraged to improve productivity, employee experience and job quality.
While the findings are based on UK data, the broader trends and implications should be of interest wherever you are based.
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Employee perceptions of automation and its impact
- A vast majority of employees think it unlikely that part (72%) or all (91%) of their job will be automated in the next year.
- Only 28% employees have received training to prepare for role changes due to automation.
- 32% of employees who anticipate some degree of automation also expect improvements in their job quality
Impact of change in technology use on performance and employee experience
- 32% of employees report a change in their use of one or more technologies in the past year.
- Of those experiencing a technology use change, 50% feel that they now need more skills and knowledge to carry out their role, and 40% feel that their tasks at work have become more complex.
- 80–93% of employees don’t think that increased technology has improved business performance.
Wellbeing and work–life balance
- 29% employees say that use of portable devices blurs boundaries between work and home life.
- 30% say that their use of portable devices makes it difficult to switch off from work.
- Around a quarter of employees say their work has had a negative impact on either their physical (24%) or mental health (26%).
- Social media use for work has risen since 2013, increasing from 27% to 37%.
Monitoring and surveillance
- 45% of employees believe that monitoring is currently taking place in their workplace.
- 86% believe that workplace monitoring and surveillance will increase in the future.
- 73% of employees feel that introducing workplace monitoring would damage trust between workers and their employers.
- Only 35% of employees and/or their representatives have been consulted on the introduction and/or implementation of new technology.
- Where employees have not been consulted about technology change, only 20% are positive about the likely impact on their job quality, compared with 70% for those who have been consulted.
Recommendations for the people profession
- Play a strategic role in designing and delivering workplace change involving technology.
- Prioritise employee voice and act as internal advocates for the workforce in decisions about investment in new technology.
- Foster trust by designing change management and communications strategies that help people transition and understand the impact of technology on their working lives. Ensure that the intended purpose, outcomes and boundaries of any monitoring are clearly explained and supported by policies.
- Boost training and development through future-focused learning solutions which support workforce transition to technology use.
- Develop a holistic approach to health and wellbeing that makes good use of technology. Consider how digital wellbeing can be enhanced through managing expectations around being ‘visible’ online or providing informal spaces for team members to check in with one another.
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