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Digital Divide Splits the Office, Puts Companies at Risk

2019-05-29 05:15 1548

SYDNEY, May 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Forum Group Workplace Digital Outlook has found 67 per cent of Australian employees report they must be onsite to have complete access to software and systems necessary to do their jobs or are limited by what can be accessed when working from anywhere.

More than two thirds of Australian workers say they cannot access all the tools and systems they need to do their job properly while working remotely.

Employees blame management's security fears about cloud computing and data storage and old-fashioned preferences for "internal" systems as the core reasons why some tasks cannot be completed remotely.

The national study of 500 employees and managers found workers who cannot access cloud-based systems blame management's reluctance on:

  • Security concerns about the cloud (38 per cent)
  • A preference for internal systems (37 per cent), and
  • A desire to do things "the old way" (18 per cent)

Forum Group Chief Operating Officer, Peter Burr, said companies who were not embracing new tools were at risk of not being able to attract and retain a new generation of workers.

"Australian workers are being split into two camps because companies are letting personal preferences for how work is done get in the way of flexibility," Mr Burr said.

Overall, the study found only 16 per cent of employees fully use the cloud and web-based applications to get work done, with the majority somewhere in-between (41%) and one in six not at all (15%).

The study found stark differences between age groups, with more than 40 per cent of millennial workers reporting that they can work from anywhere in their current employment and get the job done, compared to only one in four baby boomers.

"Younger employees are also embracing digital collaboration tools like instant messaging, document sharing and video conferencing much more than their older colleagues," Mr Burr said.

"Double the number of millennials use instant messaging in the workplace than boomers (30% vs 16%), which reflects the digital immersion of the younger generation."

"Millennials will soon represent 50% of the workplace and they expect these tools at work because they use instant messaging and video chat every day in their lives outside of work."

"There is a serious disconnect between the digital capabilities available to people at the office and what people do at home. Unless companies embrace modern collaboration tools, it will impact on the jobs people take."

Mr Burr said staff should be able to collaborate and share information from anywhere.

"Desktop as a service and hosted communication systems give workers the power to take their work wherever they go," Mr Burr said.

"Whether you're a large corporation or a small business employing 10 people, companies don't need to invest in onsite hardware, such as servers and PABX systems, and the resources required to manage them. Hot-desking, remote work and working on your mobile are all possible."

Forum Group provides a range of solutions to suit the needs of the changing workplace via its suite of Forum Office products.

"With Forum Office, businesses today can reduce the risk of downtime and losing data at the hands of viruses, data theft and disasters and the resulting impact on customers," Mr Burr said.

With a growing cybersecurity talent gap that is expected to result in 3.5 million unfilled positions in 2021, small to medium businesses are now migrating to the cloud to achieve a comparable level of security achieved by larger organisations.

About the Forum Group Workplace Digital Outlook

PureProfile was commissioned by Forum Group to undertake the research project among 503 male and female fulltime and part-time workers aged over 18 during March 2019. Workers were drawn from a mix of employees, team leaders and management from all over Australia.

Source: Forum Group
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