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The Evolving Workforce

Changes in the Workplace and how we use IT

The nature of work, working practices and attitudes to work are changing rapidly.  And much of this change is fuelled by new technologies and connectivity.  Boundaries are being broken down, and traditional expectations are being challenged.

But we are not at a tipping point yet, according to a global study from Dell and Intel.  Attitudes do not change overnight, and the changes are embraced at different rates by different groups - while some people and institutions remain resistant to change.

Trends and challenges

The study identifies seven key trends:

  1. Crowdsourcing and Crowdsource service - new ways of doing business by involving many other people on an ad hoc or project basis, rather than having employees.  Mostly this refers to use of freelancers and more traditional kinds of contingent workers, but an accelerating trend is here linked to crowdsourcing in terms of an approach to a just-in-time labour force model
  2. Productivity measured in outputs, not hours - vital for smart working, but this is an area where challenges are identified and differences between different areas of the world
  3. Changes in the adoption of devices - the future workplace will revolve around the issues of compatibility, with an ever wider choice of devices and the need to meet user preferences.  The Cloud will underpin these changes.
  4. Intergenerational interaction and conflict - there could be greater conflict in the workplace between a younger ‘digital native’ group, and an older and
    more senior generation, but there will also be huge opportunities for knowledge transfer in both directions.
  5. Values versus rules - in the workplace of the future, the availability of pervasive technology will make it easier for companies to monitor what employees are doing. Potentially more data will exist on what employees are doing at any given time and employers may take more interest in analyzing this information.  But this capability has to be used sensitively in order to build a trust-based culture
  6. Evolving role of the IT manager - We are witnessing a shift in employee aspirations, with greater emphasis placed on happiness, well-being
    and fulfilment at work. Employers will mirror this trend with greater incentives to keep theirworkforces healthy, happy and continuously developing their skills.  As a result, the IT manager role is likely to increasingly align to that of the HR manager, because IT has a crucial role to play in recruiting and retaining staff, managing wellbeing, and facilitating personal and professional development.
  7. Employee-led innovation - The consumerisation of IT means that employees are now more aware of the portfolio of devices available and therefore demand has increased for individual choice. Employees expect to be able to pick and choose the software and devices they want to use and no
    longer want to be forced by their IT department to adopt a certain solution.

The study concludes that things are changing fast, but:

"We are still some way away from a tipping point. Legacy behaviours and beliefs do not disappear overnight, and while knowledge-based industries and occupations have been quick to embrace the benefits afforded by technology, the opportunities may not be as apparent to others. There are risks attached to the new way of working, and there will be losers as well as winners.

Moreover, the pace at which things are changing throws into sharp contrast the widening gulf between those who welcome change, and those who do not. In the next report, we will reveal findings from a comprehensive global survey that will highlight in detail where the change is happening and how, the opportunities versus risks and which potential futures are being embraced and which ones rejected."

The study is based on desk research and discussions with experts, and it is intended there will be a global survey of employees to add another dimension to the study.




January 2012


Further information

The Evolving Workforce - Report #1 has been produced by TNS Global for Dell and Intel.  the aim is to identify and explore future trends and themes relating to the workplace and workforce, especially the role that technology is playing.

Further details and the report for download can be found on the TNS Global website.







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