Fifty-five percent of employees globally want technology to help them work in new or different ways. But people in developing countries are more likely to want that than people in developed countries -- a sign of greater flexibility in the emerging economies. For example, 83 percent of Mexicans and 76 percent of Brazilians want to enable new or different approaches to work, versus just 43 percent of Brits and 46 percent of Americans.
Young people (ages 18 to 24) are more open-minded about work approaches than older people (ages 55 to 64), but not by a huge gap: 62 percent versus 51 percent. But young people are much more likely to be happy when given technological choice (65 percent) than older people (50 percent), perhaps as compensation for greater work expectations: 55 percent of young people are expected to work longer hours versus 28 percent of older workers.
In most countries, younger people have more faith in technology's ability to improve work. But there are two exceptions: France and China, where older workers have the most faith in the benefit of technology usage.
When it comes to work flexibility, the United Kingdom, China, and Japan are the least flexible countries, with 51 percent, 43 percent, and 41 percent of respondents respectively saying they have it. By contrast, 67 percent of Germans and 62 percent of French enjoy such flexibility.
Despite our reputation, Americans are among the least unable to relax when at home (35 percent, nearly tied with Mexicans at 36 percent). The Brazilians, French, and British are least able to relax after work (46 percent in each country).
Workers in the United Kingdom and United States are most likely to have monitored email: 41 percent in Great Britain and 34 percent in the states, versus the global average of 28 percent. Only 18 percent of French workers and 16 percent of German ones are subject to email monitoring.
Having an employer that gives freedom to choose how to work is most important to Brazilians (74 percent), Mexicans (73 percent), and Germans (72 percent); the British are much less interested in work freedom (53 percent). Fortunately, most employees agree that employees do have such freedom, with Mexico leading the way (84 percent), followed by Germany (83 percent) and France (81 percent). Chinese and Japanese workers are more constrained (54 percent and 57 percent, respectively). Large enterprises trail small businesses (69 percent versus 77 percent) in granting such work freedom.
Fifty-seven percent of the world's employees are free to download their own software, with Mexico (82 percent), China (79 percent), and Brazil (74 percent) leading the way. The United Kingdom is the most constrained in terms of software, with just 37 percent of British workers free to download as they like. When it comes to company size, 67 of small-business workers say they can freely download software, versus 44 percent in large enterprises.
What I get out of all this are the following:
- Aspirations for freedom, flexibility, choice, and trust are widespread and generally supported. This is no minority aspiration nor isolated trend.
- Workers in emerging countries aspire to greater flexibility and freedom than those in developed countries, even those said to be more entrepreneurial such as the United States and the United Kingdom.
- Young people are not as exceptional as the media like to portray in their demands for freedom and choice, though they tend to be more supportive as a group than their older peers.
- I would not want to work in Britain, which comes across as the least pleasant, most close-minded work environment. Although Chinese employers also tend more toward authoritarianism, their workers at least aspire to something better, whereas the British seem not to.
This article, "Guess who's embracing consumerization? Probably not who you think," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Smart User blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.