COVID-19 has often been cited as a catalyst for speeding up digital transformation and technologies within the workplace. However, employees have fears that their organisation will revert to pre-pandemic ways.  

According to new data released by The Workforce Institute at UKG, over four in five workers (87 per cent) said they had been propelled into the future of work by accelerating their digital transformation projects.

This has been directly attributed to the impact of the pandemic with three-quarters of respondents stating these projects had been sped up by one to three years.

More than three-quarters of employees reported using at least one new technology or appliance over the last year.

This was orchestrated by leaders who were shown to be very concerned with implementing the correct technology during the pandemic. Over a third (34 per cent) said they had accelerated a critical technology deployment whilst a further three in 10 (29 per cent) found budget to pursue a technology improvement that was previously thought to be unnecessary.

Employees reacted to these new changes positively, with 86 per cent of UK employees praising their organisation for their  use or deployment of new technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. This, they said, allowed them to do their role more safely or efficiently.

Despite this, staff felt that the transition to new technologies could have been smoother if these technological advancements had been implemented prior to the coronavirus. Almost half (42 per cent) felt that their company was too slow in embracing new technologies.

Three-fifths (60 per cent) expressed hope that their company would continue to retain the new technologies after the pandemic although over a third (38 per cent) believe their organisation will roll back the changes, going back to the “old way” of doing things.

Main challenges that threaten to turn back the clock when it comes to the technologies deployed include budget restraints (40 per cent), security and privacy concerns (34 per cent) and culture change and employee adoption (35 per cent).

However, staff feel that the benefits outweigh the challenges, citing new technology being useful for creating a better customer experience (54 per cent), improving employee experience (51 per cent) and enhancing decision making (44 per cent).

Peter Harte, Group VP, EMEA, UKG, said:

COVID-19 turned the world of work upside down and clearly forced the digital transformation hand in a very short period of time. Some organisations were simply trying to survive – and still are – but others have been thriving.

One year later, organisations are seeing the fruits of their digital transformation labour and it’s now imperative to have a technology roadmap to aid them in thriving throughout the remainder of 2021 and into the future to keep pace with developments to not only protect their bottom line, but also meet the needs of their people and customers.


*To collate these results, the Workforce Institute at UKG surveyed 3,903 domestic and international respondents.