How your business is evolving

By: Kevin Peesker

Date: 18 January 2012

Flexibility at workWork attitudes and practices are evolving rapidly, fuelled by advances in technology and widespread broadband connectivity.

Indeed, perhaps it's the availability of fast internet connections which is enabling information, ideas and knowledge to flow freely.

Our world of work is being redefined. With it, the expectations of workers and managers in businesses of all sizes are being challenged.

The evolving workforce

To understand how working habits are changing and the impact this will have on companies across the globe, Dell and Intel commissioned a piece of research: The Evolving Workforce. We wanted to learn how the way businesses work is changing.

Part of the research involved polling the workforce itself – approximately 8,000 workers in 11 countries, 1,000 of whom were based in the UK. The results contain some interesting findings for smaller businesses:

  • Smaller businesses offer better job stability. Worldwide, employees of small and medium-sized businesses feel their jobs are safe from external threats. They feel stable in their roles; only 25% feel that outsourcing is a threat.
  • Smaller companies offer greater job satisfaction. Generally, employees of small and medium-sized businesses are happier at work than people in larger companies. Some employees say this is because they're able to choose the technology they use. In small and medium-sized businesses, 39% of employees can choose their IT, compared with just 21% at larger companies.
  • Employees in smaller businesses are more trusted by their employers. Results from around the world show that 55% of employees from small and medium-sized businesses say they feel their employer listens to them, compared to only 36% at larger companies.
  • People working for small and medium-sized businesses have more flexibility and choice in the devices they use. 42% of employees at small and medium-sized companies in Japan believe they're consulted about technology choices, yet only 31% had positive views of their IT support.

    The figure is similar in Mexico, with 40% being more likely to choose their own devices, compared with half that (20%) in large enterprises. This shows how smaller businesses are able to offer more flexibility – an attractive prospect to employees who like to choose the technology they use every day.

Small and medium-sized businesses are blazing a trail in terms of employee-led innovation, but results from our survey suggest the UK lags behind. More than half (53%) of employees say they don't have the freedom to choose how to work.

By giving workers increased freedom, offering flexible working and a choice of devices, small and medium-sized businesses will increase motivation and, in turn, boost productivity and creativity to stimulate further innovation and growth.

Kevin Peesker is General manager Dell UK and Ireland small and medium business

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