By Kevin Peesker, General Manager, UK & Ireland For Small & Medium Business At Dell

Read the first part of this article: What To Expect From The Workplace Of The Future.

At Dell we recently published the second instalment of a new TNS Global research project with Intel – ‘The Evolving Workforce’ – to get greater clarity on how the workforce is changing, the role technology is playing in redefining our habits, and to investigate how these developments are already starting to play out across the globe. The research also provided us with a great opportunity to understand the changing way businesses work so we can ensure we continue to develop the services and solutions that best fit our customers’ needs.

The second phase involved polling the workforce itself – approximately 8000 workers in 11 countries, 1,000 of which were based in the UK – and centred on the primary workforce trends identified in the first phase of the research released in October 2011, such as the adoption of devices and the changing role of IT.

Global results shed light on some interesting findings for SMBs:

- SMBs offer better job stability. Worldwide, SMB employees feel their jobs are secure from external threats and they are stable in their roles, with only 25% believing that outsourcing is a threat

- SMBs offer greater job satisfaction. Generally, SMB employees are happier with their working environments than workers at larger enterprises and public sector organisations, due to factors such as choosing their own device to work on; 39% can choose compared with only 21% at larger companies. Just 41% of SMB employees feel under pressure to work long hours vs. 47% of their counterparts in larger organisations

- SMB employees enjoy higher levels of trust from their employers. The results from around the world show that 55% of employees from SMBs say they feel their employer listens to them, compared to only 36% at large enterprises. That type of trust is highly valued almost universally; in Canada, just 22% of SMB employees believe their employer monitors their email, compared with 38% at large enterprises. In Australia, 93% of SMB workers consider themselves to be trusted, with 90% in both the UK and Canada saying the same. In Japan, only 17% of employees thought their email was monitored, compared to more than double that number (39%) in larger organizations

- SMBs employees enjoy flexibility and choice in the devices they use. Forty-two percent of employees at SMBs in Japan believe they’re consulted about technology choices, however 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 demonstrates the kind of flexibility SMBs can offer and that this is attractive to employees who appreciate their own views being taken into account.

SMBs are global leaders in terms of employee led innovation, but the results indicate that the UK lags behind and can be seen to hold its employees back with half (53%) of employees saying they don’t have the freedom to choose how to work.
The lesson here for SMBs is to continue to trust their employees and involve them in the decision making process for what devices to use to best help them thrive in their jobs. By listening to employees, SMB owners will get the best out of them and increase job satisfaction. Involving employees in the business motivates them, and demonstrates trust.

Amongst more developed markets, the UK needs to continue to do more to improve employee satisfaction. By allowing workers increased freedom, through practices like flexible working and device choice, SMBs will increase motivation and in doing so drive the productivity and creativity that will in turn stimulate innovation and growth.