The Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey has revealed a change in workers’ relationships with tech since Covid-19, as reliance on digital collaboration tools and IT self-service requirements have increased with the shift to remote working.
This, along with a lack of available in-person IT support, has led to a rise in confidence regarding the use of digital technologies, with over half considering themselves proficient.
Respondents to Gartner’s survey reported an 11% increase in the proportion of their work time spent on laptops, smartphones or tablets, while the proportion of their time spent on desktops declined by 8%.
The research also showed a rise in the number of workers using personal technology for work purposes, with over half reporting use of applications or web services that they personally obtained – most of which are employer-sanctioned – for collaborating with other workers.
What’s more, the same proportion (55%) are using personally owned devices for their work at least some of the time.
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“Workers seized on the crisis to improve their mastery of a wide range of technologies and applications in the space of a few months,” said Whit Andrews, distinguished research vice-president at Gartner.
“Today’s workplace is vastly different from 2019’s, and CIOs must prepare their technology stacks, office spaces, IT teams and mindsets to embrace the new future of the digital workplace.
“When organisations were forced to go remote in early 2020, workers started to rely on their own devices or programmes they discovered themselves to make up for their employers’ technology shortcomings.
“In 2021, organisations can embrace this trend by expanding the choice of devices and software programmes that workers can use with little or no friction.”
Among participating employees whose work-from-home time increased since January 2020, 36% reported an increase in productivity, while 35% reported no change.
Flexibility in working hours was the most cited factor enabling greater productivity, selected by 43% of respondents.
A quarter of workers surveyed, meanwhile, did report that their productivity fell amidst Covid-19, with connectivity issues and technology changes being among the top reasons cited for decreased productivity.
“Now that many workers have had a taste of the flexibility that remote work offers, it will be a key factor in hiring and talent acquisition,” said Andrews.
“In fact, 69% of workers in our survey said they were more likely to consider a new role that allows them to work from a location of their choice, and 64% were more likely to consider a role that allows for flexible hours.
“Digital proficiency becomes even more essential for productivity when working remotely. CIOs should extend worker-to-worker lateral mentoring and training to ensure that no employees are left behind as technology mastery becomes the expectation.”
The Gartner study was conducted in November and December 2020, among 10,080 full-time employees at organisations with 100 or more employees in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.