The report entitled ‘Future of Work’ uncovered some thought-provoking emerging trends in how UK bosses are running their businesses regarding management, communications, digital media and employee performance. Research found that an overwhelming 86% agreed that 'the most successful companies today are those willing to harness the benefits of transformation.'
Sponsored by Google for Work, the report asked 247 senior business directors from across the UK about what they believed would be the future of business. Companies of all sizes were asked, representing the finance, business services, technology, manufacturing and retail sectors.
In the face of an increasingly fast-paced, competitive and technology-driven environment, nearly two thirds of businesses said they were dependent upon continuous transformation if they wished to remain competitive. Looking to the future, a whopping 79% of businesses believe that the rise of ‘anytime, anywhere’ work is inevitable, while 75% believe that “Distances will fade as video, chat and cloud becomes more mainstream.” Cloud and tablets incidentally are predicted to be two of the main technologies that will significantly alter the way we work over the next 5 years.
While 46% of business owners now feel that keeping their company relevant in a swiftly changing market is a top priority (compared to a far smaller figure three years ago), 57% of employees admitted to being continually surprised by the pace of change. Clearly, the increasing pace of change in the business environment over the last few years has so far been vastly underestimated.
However, a great deal more needs to be done if businesses are to reap the full benefits of transformation. While 39% labelled themselves as ‘believers’ or, in less theological terms, businesses that are 'aware of the need to remain competitive but have not yet reaped its full advantages,' only 16% actually classified themselves as ‘pioneering’ or actively reaping those advantages.
Among the main reasons put forward as hindering transformative businesses are: not enough funding (39%), cultural aversion to change (34%), limited IT systems (30%), lack of urgency (21%) and unaligned management (28%). Business owners ranked what they thought would be the most successful means of overcoming these barriers and increasing staff productivity as follows: 1) improved leadership, 2) professional development, 3) use of technology, 4) flexible working, 5) better engagement.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Liz Smith, Raconteur’s Head of Custom Publishing, said: “It’s surprising to see how many organisations are focusing on transformation in a bid to stay relevant in a fast-changing business environment."
“Whereas before, organisations might have adapted in order to optimise internal factors such as profitability, collaboration and decision-making, today change is being forced by external pressures such as a constant stream of new technological innovations and customer expectations. The findings clearly demonstrate the need for UK businesses to take action and form a transformation strategy if they are to remain competitive.”
David Keene, Head of Marketing for Google for Work in Northern, Eastern & Central Europe said: “With the pace of change accelerating, businesses shouldn't focus that much on trying to predict every trend but build the internal capability to easily adapt to the marketplace. Having the right technology which makes it easier to connect, communicate and collaborate in real-time at all levels keeps employees motivated and plays a key role in this journey.”