No more 9 to 5 desk jobs says survey

Workers view work as something that you do, not a place that you go to according to a new survey, Destination Wireless, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Intel. More than 600 business workers across Europe and the UAE highlight the growing influence of globalisation and wireless technology on work.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  August 8, 2004

Workers view work as something that you do, not a place that you go to according to the findings of a new survey, Destination Wireless, conducted on behalf of Intel Corporation by the Economist Intelligence Unit. More than 600 business workers in ten European and Middle Eastern countries highlight the growing influence globalisation and wireless technology are having on working practices and office culture. “There is a fundamental shift in the mindset of business workers adapting to the changes to their working environment. Throughout those businesses surveyed, workers are embracing new technologies in order to meet the demands of an ever more demanding work environment. For companies, one of the major new challenges will be how best to manage an increasingly fragmented workforce no longer tied to a single office location,” says Mike Bonello, mobile marketing manager, Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Employees in ten countries were asked to assess changes in their office environment and work habits in the age of globalisation and mobile technology. In all, 611 executives, managers and staff responded to the survey:17%in C-level or board-level positions;26% vice-presidents and other senior managers; and 57% other managers and staff. Their companies represent a wide range of industries, with 18% in financial services, 13% in telecommunications, 9% in each of technology, transport,and professional services. Respondents were based in 10 countries: the UK (24%), Poland (12%),Italy (11%),Spain (10%),the Netherlands (9%),Sweden (9%),France (7%),Germany (6%),Russia (5%) and the United Arab Emirates (5%). In a clear shift away from the traditional nine-to-five based office culture, old working practices are being swept away thanks to increased adoption of mobile technology enabling users to view work as something that you do, rather than a place that you go to. According to the chip-set vendor, currently there are over 30,000 public verified ‘hotspots’ available around the world, most of which are in Europe and America. The findings of the survey do not necessarily reflect the Middle East, which has a few hundred verified hot spots. Of the sample universe, only 5% of the respondents were from the UAE while larger IT markets such as Saudi Arabia were ignored. The report findings show that workers are spending more time outside the office and that the working day is becoming longer and increasingly fragmented. Asked to define the current proportion of their working day spent working out of office, respondents cited up to a third (33.2%), predicting that this is set to rise to just under half (42.4%) in the next two years. The shift is prompted by the increasing need to work across borders with colleagues in other offices and countries, with almost two-thirds (61%)of those questioned highlighting increasingly working as part of a virtual team. In a move away from the day-to-day routine of familiar faces in the office, more than a third of those questioned (37%) cited remote colleagues as their primary day-to-day contacts reflecting the increasing irrelevance of location. With over three quarters of respondents already travelling regularly on business, the recent accession of the new EU member states was cited as a key driver of mobile working, prompted by the need to secure new opportunities created by enlargement. Adapting to the changes, workers are embracing the shift away from the status quo with the majority (68%) claiming to be more (19%) or as productive (49%) working outside the office as within. Almost three-quarters claim to be (73%) as comfortable working remotely as at the office. Focussing on the benefits of improved productivity and performance, more than three-quarters cited mobile working as creating a competitive advantage over rivals (83%), enabling them to provide better client service (88%). Eliminating dead time whilst out of the office (87%) was identified as another key advantage. As a result, adoption of mobile technologies amongst business users is at an all time high, with an overwhelming majority currently using (82%)or planning to use (13%) a laptop in the next two years. Increasing availability of ‘hotspots’ is also helping to drive adoption of wireless technologies with more than a quarter (27%) of those surveyed currently exploiting the technology and almost half (44%) anticipating using hotspots in the next two years says the survey. “The findings reflect a trend to more autonomous working dictated by the increasing need to work across time zones and geographies. In the coming years, we are likely to see even more changes as companies move towards a more decentralised and flexible work force,” adds Andrew Palmer, senior editor, Economist Intelligence Unit.

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