“Technology promised to free up people, but workers feel more disengaged than ever”
New research from Howspace, the leading AI-powered collaboration platform, found that 3 in 4 businesses have made changes to adapt to new ways of working with nearly half of employees seeing access to new technology introduced with the aim of helping collaboration. However, of those with new technology, 64% cannot remember its name, and just under 1 in 3 found it helped improve collaborative work.
Despite almost half of businesses increasing their use of new technology, Howspace’s research found it isn’t helping people feel part of an organisation where they’re heard. To help rectify this, employers need to renew their focus on their teams and their priorities.
The research found that collaboration is critical to the success of an organisation and its culture. 76% of employees enjoy collaboration in the workplace. 45% believe they’ll need to collaborate more to be good at their job in the next five years.
When breaking this down by the age of respondents, we found the strongest drive for collaboration was found in 30-34-year-olds, with 50% of respondents believing they’ll need more collaboration to be successful, in comparison to 18% of 65-69-year-olds.
Despite the high drive for collaboration, the research found only 46% of people believe the way their organisation collaborates will change in the next five years, and 28% believe their organisation should change the way it collaborates but won’t. If employers wish to help their teams succeed, it’s important they provide the right support to assist this. However, so far, we’ve seen that attempts are failing to enhance this and are instead confining people and prioritising control rather than collaboration.
In recent years, technology has been promoted as an answer to worker empowerment. Yet, according to employees, the technology introduced is geared more toward independent work. There is real scope for employers to engage with their teams and invest in technology that empowers them and encourages increased collaboration. The onus is now on employers to meet the needs of their team through this investment.
Ilkka Mäkitalo, CEO of Howspace, said: “We’ve been working in a document-centric world, but the icebergs are melting now that workers are starting to leave the workforce and assert their desire to work in a more human-centric environment. The future will be different as technology will shift from forming the structure of work to becoming a machine that works in the background and enables employees and organisations to reformulate and develop the best ways of working. As a result, we’re seeing a more immersive nature to work. By leveraging technology, we can make sense of large-scale conversations across locations, cultures, and languages and encourage synchronous and asynchronous work to take place seamlessly in a fluid environment. This new way of utilising technology will provide just enough structure for a more collaborative and adaptive workforce, which also helps organisations to empower and engage their employees and avoid them changing jobs.”
The research asked 3,000 employees across 15 industries and seven countries about their experiences and attitudes to workplace collaboration. When looking at different sectors, there were some surprising responses on technology being deemed useful. For example, a quarter of Charity and Legal employees found new technologies very helpful, but only 18% of the tech sector agree.
“Technology promised to free up people to complete valuable, bigger thinking, more strategic tasks, but workers feel more disengaged than ever,” continued Mäkitalo. “As the face of work continues to change, ensuring that collaborative practices promote every worker’s voice is non-negotiable.”