New Workforces 2025 report demonstrates businesses need to do more to encourage employees and embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Over half of employees (53 per cent) are prepared to use technology like wearables to boost their own productivity at work. However, three quarters (74 per cent) said no to wearables being used by employers to monitor performance.

These are the findings of TalkTalk Business’ Workforces 2025 report which combines insights from YouGov research and expertise from respected futurist Graeme Codrington. The report highlights that businesses are not doing enough to encourage technology uptake by employees and deliver the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

That said, there are some encouraging signs of uptake towards new working technologies. Over one third (38 per cent) of employees expect to see virtual reality in staff training rooms within the next 10 years. A third (33 per cent) also expect to regularly switch between working remotely and in an office, while a quarter (26 per cent) believe that offices in the future will mainly be used for meeting and collaboration and not for general work or administration functions.

The report concludes that businesses should be prepared to experiment and fail small, often and quickly in order to learn and succeed with new technologies, and keep both current and future employees engaged.

Graeme Codrington, Futurist to TalkTalk Business commented:

“Clearly there is an appetite amongst employees for using new technologies like VR and wearables to improve productivity, but this doesn’t mean business managers can make these decisions in isolation. Employees also need to be engaged with all aspects of new workplace technologies to make them a success, otherwise they won’t use them to full capacity or worse, find ways to circumvent them completely.”

There is also concern amongst employees that the advent of future working technologies like AI, machine learning and automation will impact on salaries and collaboration. Over a quarter of workers (27 per cent) believe their salaries will come down as a direct result of the arrival of AI, robotics and other technologies into the workplace, while almost a quarter (24 per cent) believe they will lead to less collaboration with colleagues.

Codrington concluded:

“Employers need to demonstrate the value of new technologies to the business before forging ahead with large investments. For example, projects should be trialled with select employees in a targeted manner rather than looking for 100 per cent proof of concept and 100 per cent ROI. This also needs to go beyond the IT department – change and innovation has to be injected through the company culture, with all employees feeling that they can bring ideas and innovations to the company table.”

To view the entire TalkTalk Business Workforces 2025 report please visit:

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Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.