IT performance can make or break the employment relationship with digital workers

Many workers are now so dependent on information technology (IT) for their jobs that the effectiveness of their employer’s IT systems can make or break the working relationship. That is the conclusion of a report called ‘The 2021 State of Work’ published by Adobe subsidiary Workfront. It is a finding that also applies to supply chain planners.

Workfront recently took stock of the situation after a year of home-working caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous studies had already made it clear that IT is becoming increasingly important. According to the new study – which is the seventh research report by Workfront – digital workers are still highly committed to their work, but IT is decisive for their motivation and productivity.

When deciding where to work, one in three millennials (37%) take a potential employer’s IT reputation into consideration, and the slightly older Generation X are increasingly doing the same (in 26% of cases). That’s not so surprising in view of the fact that around 80% of the respondents indicate that IT is decisive in whether they can work optimally.

Moreover, they are notably keen to do a good job; 80% regard ‘optimal performance’ to be just as important as salary. Another striking finding in this past year of remote working is that 80% consider good teamwork to be a prerequisite for remaining in a role. According to 60% of those surveyed, team performance depends on well-functioning IT that facilitates things like collaboration, workload management, communication and planning & organization.

IT must fill the gaps created by remote working

“This past year of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that good IT is a prerequisite for the basic ability to connect with work and other people. But the communication subtleties and fast group dynamics are always lacking in remote working. Information technology must now also fill those extra gaps created by remote working. This is not easy to achieve when the work is ad hoc and spread across numerous platforms,” says Swen Arnold, Regional Director Benelux at Workfront.

For many digital workers who do not deliver tangible products, it is currently not essential that they physically go to the office. This makes the quality of their work even more dependent on the quality of their IT tools. 80% indicate that IT is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ in terms of improving their productivity. This is topped only by the value of an ‘engaged manager’, which scores 83%.