Is technology the key to happiness at work?

May 27, 2016
Is technology the key to happiness at work?

We all know that more and more technology is getting pushed into the cabs of commercial trucks – from electronic logging devices (ELDs) to video camera systems on down to the sophisticated smart phone or smart device in almost every driver’s pocket – and many think that’s a necessity, not just in terms of making trucking more efficient but making the job more appealing to the next generation of workers, who’ve grown up with technology in every facet of their lives.

But is all that technology the key to happiness at work? For jobs across the business spectrum, not just trucking?

That seems to be the conclusion of a new report compiled by software maker Adobe and entitled Work in Progress. Adobe polled more than 1,000 U.S. office workers who use computers daily as part of their jobs, on their attitudes about work and the future of technology in the workplace.

Now, while those folks are definitely not truck drivers, their definition of “work,” their satisfaction with the modern-day workplace, and how technology increases their on-the-job satisfaction, are trends that bear watching in trucking – especially as motor carriers try to figure out how to recruit and retain workers for a wide variety of positions, not just the ones behind the steering wheel.

Here are a few of the broad insights gleaned from Adobe’s survey:

  • Some 70% of U.S. office workers say they love their jobs and access to cutting-edge technology is the “top contributor” to their overall satisfaction on the job – far outranking perks like food and “slick office designs.”
  • “Moonlighting” has gone mainstream, with one-third of respondents across all income levels holding one or more jobs in addition to their primary profession.
  • Those that report holding an additional job, whether for money or to pursue a passion, say they are more likely to feel happy and optimistic than those that don’t.

OK, so let’s drill down into this a bit. Respondents to Adobe’s poll specifically said that technology is the “most important factor “in keeping them happy at work (81%) with access to state-of-the-art technology that helps people get their jobs done ranking higher than access to food and beverages (72%), a “beautiful office design” (61%) and on-site amenities (56%) in terms of importance.

Jeff Vijungco, vice president of global talent at Adobe, also noted that workers participating in the company’s poll who said their company’s technology is “ahead of the curve” feel twice as creative, motivated and valued than those who say their company is “behind the times.”

Yet only 1 in 4 employers is viewed as “ahead of the curve” when it comes to technology, he added.

“Employers may be focusing too much on ping pong tables and free dry cleaning, instead of technology that helps their employees feel motivated, valued and productive,” Vijungco pointed out. “Employers need to pay attention to productivity more than perks, and realize that their employees are happy to work when a company invests in their success.”

Here are a few more findings from Adobe’s report:

  • Not only did the majority of respondents report loving their jobs, but eight in 10 say they would keep working even if they won the lottery – and among those who would keep working, more than half (51%) would stay at their current job.
  • Although important, pay isn’t everything: 47% of respondents would move to their “ideal” job even for less pay.
  • More than three-quarters (81%) say technology that helps them connect to colleagues more efficiently is important to their ideal workspace.
  • Workers believe technology makes them more productive (85%), improves work-life balance (70%) and would make their workday better and easier (74%).
  • Workers predict that over half (53%) of menial office tasks will be done by a machine or technology in the next 20 years.
  • Some 78% of waking hours on a workday are spent actively working or thinking about work, according those polled, with 41% of waking hours on a typical day off are spent working or thinking about work.
  • More than half (57%) of those surveyed say work defines who they are.
  • Money plays a major role in why they work (88%), but they also want to be recognized as successful (60%) and to make an impact on their society or community (51%).
  • More than half of U.S. workers (56%) predict that most people will have multiple jobs in the future.
  • Other than money, pursuing a passion is the number one reason moonlighters have a second job. “Moonlighters” in the U.S. are more likely to be happy (78%) and more likely to be optimistic (78%) than non-moonlighters (72% and 73%, respectively).

However, there’s a big kicker in Adobe’s survey – a kicker more than a few trucking companies will understand, as driver turnover remains a huge problem: Nearly 60% of U.S. office workers say they’re likely to leave their job for a new opportunity, and even half of the respondents who say they love their job would make such a switch if the opportunity presented itself.

Thus just throwing technology at workers is no guarantee they’ll stay put. Something to keep in mind as the industry continues to forge new recruiting and retention strategies.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr 1 | Senior Editor

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