We all know that our work lives have changed dramatically in recent years, as technology has both let us do more and shackled us to our work at all hours and in practically all locations. Businesses worry about securing corporate information that is no longer confined to corporate PCs, software, and networks; employees worry about getting work done whenever and wherever, and they demand that as work intrudes into personal time that personal "work" should be allowed to intrude work time.
Often, discussion around trends such as BYOD, work at home, mobile technology, and cloud computing center on narrow issues such as security. But what's really going on in businesses and homes? What is the reality on the ground that must be understood to make the right decision, whether you are an employee, manager, or IT pro? Dell and Intel surveyed more than 8,000 people throughout the world to find out. The results are fascinating and should set the context for those decisions in today's changing technology and workplace contexts.
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You can download the full PDF report at no charge or signup. What follow are the facts I found most interesting.
Sixty percent of employees globally -- and 76 percent in the United States -- want to be evaluated on the quality of what they produce, not the hours they work in the office. In private enterprise, that percentage is 63 percent, and in the public sector it's almost as high: 59 percent.
Forty-three percent of employees feel pressure to work longer hours, though just 32 percent of Americans feel the same; Americans also report the greatest ability to shift their schedules, which may explain how they reduce the overtime pressure. Perhaps then it's not surprising that 61 percent of workers globally want more flexible hours than the traditional 9-to-5 schedule. Given their ability to shift their hours, it may be understandable that Americans are among the most optimistic that they can do their jobs in a 9-to-5 schedule (58 percent), including 72 percent of government employees and 68 percent of financial-sector employees.The survey strongly suggests that Americans either have a good work-life balance or have become comfortable with any imbalance that may exist.
Forty-five percent of workers globally want the ability to work remotely, and 55 percent believe they'll need to in the future.
Confirming what I think we all know intuitively, 45 percent of private sector workers have some say in the technology they use at work, versus 32 percent in the public sector. Likewise, 49 percent of small-business employees have some choice, versus 36 percent of enterprise employees. But less intuitively, when it comes to device choice, China, Mexico, and Brazil lead (at 59 percent, 57 percent, and 50 percent, respectively), whereas the United States, France, and the United Kingdom lag (at 29 percent, 28 percent, and 27 percent, respectively).
Nearly half (46 percent) the workforce globally expects to use devices for both personal and business purposes. Again, China, Mexico, and Brazil lead in terms of these expectations (in the high 60s), with double the acceptance of France and the United Kingdom (in the low 30s). Americans report similarly low desire (37 percent) to use devices for both work and personal purposes, though 55 percent say they already have the ability.
Interoperability -- meaning data exchange -- is the norm globally, with 59 percent of workers saying they have no restrictions on such sharing, though it's lower in the United States (48 percent). Media and engineering workers have the most freedom, surpassing 70 percent of respondents. Seventy-four percent of all workers globally said they believed they would have that freedom in the future.
The vast majority of workers globally -- more than 80 percent -- believe the Internet can help them collaborate more and gain more access to more resources. But some industries are much more accepting of this notion than others: 87 percent of engineers, 87 percent of media pros, and 84 percent of educators. Those less accepting are the armed forces and emergency responders, both at 67 percent. Canadians and Germans are more accepting of this notion than the British or Japanese.