‘Discerning new age workers’ are leading workplace innovation

Millennials comprise a significant proportion of the total workforce in APAC and are changing workplaces across the region, according to Mark Henley, Director of Transformation and Digital Strategy at Adobe, Asia Pacific.

Henley added that these “discerning new age workers” are not only leading the innovation charter in the workplace, but they are also becoming the “torchbearers of diversity and use of technology”.

Indeed, respondents stated that sparking creative thinking and innovative projects, creating diverse and open-minded environments, and propagating social media use and engagement are the key ways younger employees are driving change.

The research also found that more than 50% of office workers in APAC rate access to cutting-edge technology in the workplace, above perks such as food and slick office design.

“The Future of Work: APAC Study” engaged almost 5,000 office workers from 10 countries across the region and examined how the roles of people, experiences and machines are impacting workplaces.

While technology was cited as a top priority for APAC professionals, the survey found that 72% of Australian & New Zealand (ANZ) businesses are only somewhat or not at all focused on leveraging technology to enable productivity and better employee experiences.

Furthermore, less than 16% of ANZ professionals see technology as an enabler of automating menial tasks to save time. This is less than the APAC average (23%), indicating that ANZ professionals are behind when it comes to recognising the full potential of technology to overcome business challenges.

Henley added that in the current era, smart organisations are realising that outstanding customer experiences hinge on their ability to attract the best people.

“As a result, businesses today must strategically invest in workplace technologies to drive productivity and deliver a compelling experience for employees,” said Henley.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence and machine learning have helped automate an increasing number of work functions that are changing the productivity paradigm.

While nearly 1 in 3 ANZ professionals said they are anxious about the impact of these new technologies on their jobs, they are significantly more optimistic about these technologies compared to their APAC counterparts - nearly three quarters (73 percent) of APAC professionals saying they are somewhat or extremely concerned about the impact of new technologies.

Nearly all respondents across APAC (94%) did however, express interest in trying artificial intelligence technologies to automate mundane work-related tasks.

The survey found that technology is critical to enabling work-life balance for office workers across APAC.

Henley said that rapid economic evolution and unprecedented growth opportunities have positioned APAC at centre stage of the disruption being created by digital technologies.

“On one hand, the workforce is seeing tremendous opportunities for career advancement, and on the other, facing challenges emerging from widespread urbanisation across its major cities,” said Henley.

Almost two in three (62 percent of) office workers surveyed were based in major metropolitan cities, with populations of more than 5 million. Almost two-thirds of these office workers rated the wide availability of job opportunities, lifestyle choices, and infrastructural facilities as top reasons behind choosing to live in the region’s major cities.