Leveraging digital workplace tools can help businesses stay competitive and adapt to changing work environments. With advantages such as driving efficiency and saving time, do the pros of adopting digital technologies outweigh the cons for workers? What is the overall outlook according to employees? Read our survey results to find out.

Digital workplace tools

Many industries are undergoing digital transformations and integrating technology into key processes such as operations and customer interactions. In light of this, employees must be digitally literate to thrive in this changing landscape, especially in the age of remote working. A wide array of digital workplace tools can enhance communication, collaboration, and productivity for businesses, with the choice of tools often depending on the specific needs of the company and its teams. 

However, there can also be challenges and learning curves when adopting new technologies. This can include the need for digital skills knowledge or handling cybersecurity issues, for example. Companies can mitigate these risks by investing in employee training, robust data security measures, and ongoing support to ensure a smooth transition. Implementing the latest digital tools can have long-term benefits for employees and companies, which may outweigh the initial difficulties. 

Capterra's first article in this two-part series examined the generational differences between employees using technology in the workplace. But what is employees' overall outlook on digital tool adoption regardless of age or digital literacy? We interviewed 1,029 full- and part-time employees who use a computer to perform their daily tasks on the benefits and challenges of using digital tools in the workplace. The full survey methodology is at the end of the article.

85% of respondents think job skills are relying more on digital tool usage

In today's rapidly evolving work environment, employees are likely to use various digital tools, applications, and software relevant to their job roles. This sentiment is reflected in Capterra's survey results, as 85% of participants said they think job skills are becoming more reliant on the use of digital tools.

Pie chart showing how many respondents think job skills are relying more on digital workplace tools

When broken down by industry, 100% of survey-takers who work in ‘art and design’, ‘pharmacy’ and ‘publishing’ were the respondents who most said job skills are relying more on digital tools. This was compared to the groups of participants from other industries, such as ‘retail’, which comparatively had the least number of employees who think job skills rely more on digital tools (76%). 

Art and design industries may rely more on digital tool use due to their speed and versatility. For example, 3D rendering tools are prevalent in design fields such as architecture and industrial design, as they allow for the creation of realistic project visualisations. The retail industry may have been slower in adopting digital tools than other sectors as it likely focuses primarily on delivering in-person services, which may overshadow the need for advanced digital tools.

Respondents would like their companies to increase digital tool usage for task management the most

Employee outlook on the future of work becoming more dependent on digital tools will likely vary due to factors such as individual preferences and how the tools are introduced and implemented. However, the overall outlook is positive when we asked the participants who think job skills rely more on digital tools how they feel. We found that:

  • A combined total of 83% of the respondents said they felt comfortable (59% chose 'moderately comfortable' and 24% said 'extremely comfortable') 
  • A combined total of 18% of the same subgroup said they weren’t comfortable (as 15% said ‘moderately uncomfortable’ and 3% said ‘extremely uncomfortable’)

When asked which areas they would like their company to increase the use of digital tools, 'task management' (46%) was most selected by survey takers. This was followed by ‘communication’ (32%). Some employees may face an overwhelming number of responsibilities, making it easy to feel swamped or lose track of priorities. This can also impact communication among team members.

Bar graph showing top areas to increase the use of digital workplace tools

The majority of survey respondents further proved to be content with using digital tools in the workplace, as a combined total of 86% said they were satisfied with the technologies they use to complete their tasks. Employees across many industries may find satisfaction in using various digital tools as, generally speaking, these can simplify work tasks, provide quicker access to information, and enhance team collaboration.

Tips for businesses

There are various types of software designed to help employees with task management, each tailored to specific needs and preferences. For example, calendar and scheduling tools can aid with organising events, meetings, and appointments. Communication platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams can integrate with many other apps and allow real-time conversations, messages, calls, and file sharing.

Over half of survey takers say tasks could be handled fully remotely, but still prefer hybrid

Digital tools have also been essential enablers of remote work for employees, as they help bridge geographical gaps and aid in managing successful flexible work arrangements. The use of digital tools to facilitate remote work is perhaps reflected in Capterra’s survey results, as over half of employees (53%) said their work functions could be ‘handled 100% remotely’. 

All survey participants who work in 'architecture' and 'insurance' fields said they could do their jobs completely remotely the most. Other industries to closely follow are 'marketing and communication' (91%) and 'telecommunications' (82%), which may be because these roles are centred around digital platforms and communication channels. Marketing campaigns, content creation, and customer engagement can typically all be managed and executed remotely using various online tools and software. 

But despite being able to carry out work tasks entirely remotely, 55% of survey takers said they would prefer to work using the hybrid model. In comparison, just one in five (20%) would like to work 'fully remote'. The flexibility of working from home with the hybrid model can help boost employee productivity and aid companies in saving on office space and equipment costs.

Pie chart showing which work model employees prefer in relation to digital workplace tools

Flexible work arrangements are attractive to many job seekers. The 2023 Flexible Working Hours and 4-day Work Week survey found that 'work-life balance' was one of the most important factors of employee job satisfaction. Moreover, this can also be considered one of the main benefits of a hybrid working model. Companies that offer flexibility where workers can choose their location and hours are more likely to retain skilled and motivated employees.

Tips for businesses

Digital tools are crucial in facilitating remote work. Virtual private networks (VPNs) enable secure and remote access to office computers and internal systems, allowing employees to work as if they were in the office. Cloud-based tools allow remote access to essential tools from anywhere, ensuring work continuity. For example, document management tools typically enable real-time document sharing and simultaneous editing, facilitating remote team collaboration.

Driving efficiency, saving time, and reducing paperwork are the top benefits of digital tools

As mentioned previously, task management was the area of work in which a significant proportion of respondents would like to use digital tools more. When asked what the main benefits of using digital workplace tools were, the most selected answer by survey takers was that the tools 'drive efficiency and save time' (46%), which can go hand in hand with improving task management.

Bar graph showing the benefits of using digital workplace tools

Next was the eco-friendly practice of 'reducing paperwork' (44%), demonstrating employees' commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability. There are digital tools, such as waste management software, which can aid company sustainability strategies. 

In fact, the 2023 Climate Change survey report found that Australian companies are modifying their business practices to minimise the impact of climate change. The report highlights the most popular sustainable measures Aussie businesses are taking, which include: 

  • Recycling materials
  • Using less energy
  • Reducing the amount of waste generated
  • Separating waste bins according to the type of waste 
  • Promoting a paper-conscious policy
  • Educating employees on climate change measures

But there are also drawbacks when using digital workplace tools. According to survey respondents, the top three challenges are 'the usage gap among employees' (36%), 'limited access to resources or training' (35%) and the 'constant introduction of new tools making it difficult to adapt' (32%). 

As mentioned in Capterra's previous article on training a multigenerational workforce, employees often have varying levels of digital literacy. Some may be tech-savvy and adapt quickly, while others may struggle to grasp new technologies. However, bridging the usage gap requires comprehensive training programs that cater to different skill levels and learning styles.

Tips for businesses

Companies with limited learning resources can leverage freely available online tutorials and webinars related to specific digital tools via social learning platforms. Many digital tool vendors offer complimentary training to help users understand and use their products effectively. Employers can also create a training portal within the company's intranet to inform employees about ongoing software training.

The outlook on digital workplace tool usage remains positive

The overall outlook on workers adopting digital workplace tools is positive for companies in Australia. According to survey takers, a combined total of 82% said they think the employees in their company are comfortable using digital tools at work (63% said their colleagues are 'moderately comfortable' and 19% said 'extremely comfortable'). 

Many digital tools are designed to automate repetitive tasks, streamline processes, and enhance workflow efficiency. This can allow workers to complete tasks faster and be more productive. Digital tools also support remote work, enabling employees to work from anywhere, which can also help improve work-life balance. 

Embracing digital tools often aligns with sustainability goals, such as reducing paper waste and minimising companies' carbon footprint, which is important in today's environmentally-conscious society. Surveyed employees recognise the benefits and opportunities presented by digital workplace tools, which explains the overall enthusiasm for their adoption in the workplace.

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Data for Capterra's Digital Natives survey was collected in August 2023. Results comprise responses from 1,029 participants. The criteria to be selected for this study are as follows: 

  • Australian resident
  • Between 18 and 65 years old
  • Employed full-time or part-time in a company with more than one employee
  • Always use a computer to perform daily work tasks