Canadian offices not adapting quickly enough to new technology, Dell finds

Over 40 per cent of Canadian employees feel their workplace technology is further away from the edge than they would like, and more than a third report having a smarter home than office, according to Dell Technologies’ latest Future Workforce study.

However, 77 per cent of Canadians say they are satisfied with the level of technology at their jobs – a stark contrast to their global counterparts, the company said.

Nor was it the only way that Dell found Canadians breaking rank with international trends:

  • When it came to low-tech versus high-tech office perks, 45 per cent of Canadians preferred the former, versus 29 per cent globally;
  • Half of us would willingly use virtual and augmented reality products at their office, compared to 66 per cent globally;
  • Less than half of Canadians believe artificial intelligence will make jobs easier, versus 62 per cent of global respondents;
  • 90 per cent of Canadians prefer face-to-face interaction over remote communication, compared to 57 per cent internationally.

However, this comparative conservatism among Canadians when it comes to embracing new workplace technology doesn’t mean we’re averse to it, Dell noted: When asked if they had plans to participate in the so-called “sharing economy,” illustrated by Uber and Airbnb, 60 per cent of Canadian respondents said they planned to embrace it, a rate consistent with their global counterparts.

Then there were the 42 per cent of Canadian employees who said their workplaces weren’t smart enough. Moreover, only 39 per cent expected to be working in a smart office over the next five years, whereas 57 per cent of global respondents did.

The findings indicate that the more access Canadian employees have to technology, and the more experience they have using it, the more likely they were to say their workplace wasn’t going far enough: 35 per cent of respondents said their home was more cutting edge than work, for instance, a number that rose to 41 per cent among employees at large enterprises.

Unsurprisingly, millennials were also found to embrace new technology more quickly than their global peers: 46 per cent reported believing they will work in an Internet of Things (IoT)-driven smart office within the next five years; and 75 per cent agreed that new office technology could make their jobs easier.

In an Oct. 31 statement, Dell EMC Canada CMO Carolyn Rollins said that while Canadians might not presently be early adopters of workplace tech, that’s no excuse for employers to rest on their laurels:

“Generational shifts and the increased participation of millennials and youngers in the workforce bring growing expectations that their employers integrate the latest technologies seamlessly and securely into their working lives,” she said. “While this may seem daunting for employers, it’s a business-critical opportunity for Canadian companies to be at the forefront of the future workplace.”

To conduct the survey, Dell and Intel commissioned research firm Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) to survey 3,801 full-time employees at small, medium, and large organizations across seven industries (education, government, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, media and entertainment, and retail) in 10 countries, including 300 from Canada.

It’s worth noting that one reason so many Canadians might be satisfied with the level of technology at their jobs is that 83 per cent of Canadian respondents were happy, period, with their jobs, especially remote (90 per cent) and public sector (85 per cent) employees.

Meanwhile, technology had nothing to do with why Canadians were satisfied or unsatisfied with their jobs: those who were cited work-life balance (33 per cent) and colleague relationships (26 per cent) as the two job aspects they were happiest with; while those who weren’t cited salary (38 per cent), opportunities for career growth (27 per cent), and flexibility in choosing where to work from (19 per cent) as the three leading reasons they wanted to leave.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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