With an arsenal of powerful digital tools at their fingertips, young employees have the ability work with precision and efficiency. However, one research effort hints that the rapid influx of technology could be wearing employees down rather them empowering them.
Cornerstone OnDemand‘s The State of Workplace Productivity Report examines the attitudes of employees regarding the use of technology in the workplace and how effective it is at helping them do their jobs. Conducted in a joint venture with global analytics firm Kelton, the survey highlights Millennials as the most overwhelmed of four age groups.
Identified as individuals ages 18 to 32, Millennials were cited as being 18 percent more overburdened by technological overload than individuals from Generation X, the Baby Boomers, and the Traditionalists, which are collectively referred to as Older Generations. The gap in information overload was smaller, yet significant, with 41 percent of the youngest generation feeling overwhelmed versus 31 percent of their elders. Overall, 50 percent of respondents reported to suffering from work overload.
Further findings offer insight into what might be causing employees to feel bogged down by the workload as well as what they may see as solutions to their problems. For example, 38 percent of respondents said that the workplace suffers from a lack of collaboration. Apparently the value of face-to-face interactions hasn’t been lost in the times of Skype, text and instant messaging, because 72 percent of employees said they prefer to collaborate in-person, compared to the 23 percent who prefer to collaborate online and the five percent who prefer collaboration via phone or video conference.
The survey identified the ability to use one’s own device in the work environment as a potential productivity booster. Millennials were found to be leading the bring your own device (or BYOD) charge in adoption with 56 percent bringing their own device to work compared to 39 percent of workers from older generations. Members of the younger generation were found to be using both smartphones and tablets in the workplace roughly twice as much as their generational counterparts. Companies and employees appear to be in agreement about the perks of BYOD, asGartner anticipates that 38 percent of employers worldwide will stop supplying devices to the workforce by 2016.
Sparked by the rise of gadgets such as smartwatches, Wear Your Own Device (or WYOD), was highlighted as a trend to watch within the BYOD movement. According to the survey, 58 percent of respondents said they would use a wearable device if it helped them work more efficiently. Millennials comprised 66 percent of that group, while older generations combined to make up 55 percent. When asked how they would respond to seeing a fellow employee with a wearable device, 67 percent said they would be curious and 12 percent said they would feel like they were at a disadvantage.
As it relates to Millennials especially, the interest in using gadgets on the job is further supported by other research that stresses the importance of adopting technology employees are partial to. SHRM reports that a survey conducted by CompTIA found that 67 percent of workers in this demographic judge employers by their technical prowess, hinting that a vast majority will not even work for a given organization if their technology is not up to par. Citing mobile devices and social media as major drivers for collaboration, productivity and efficiency, experts suggested that employees are more likely to give their all when permitted to use the tools that enable them to maximize their capabilities.