Newer economies allow more high tech freedom at work

LONDON Wed Dec 7, 2011 10:41am GMT

An office workers checks his mobile phone as he walks past an advertisement outside HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong October 18, 2011. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

An office workers checks his mobile phone as he walks past an advertisement outside HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong October 18, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

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LONDON (Reuters) - Employees in fast-growing economies have more freedom over the technology they use for work than their counterparts in developed countries, and are more likely to see corporate provision of devices as a perk, according to a study.

The so-called consumerisation of IT -- the migration into the workplace of technology that employees use at home -- is a global phenomenon but far more pronounced in China and Brazil than in Britain, France and the United States, the study found.

While 59 percent of employees in China said they could influence the choice of device they used for work, in Britain the figure was just 27 percent, according to the survey by market research firm TNS commissioned by PC maker Dell DELL.O.

Two-thirds of workers in China were keen to use the same device for work and personal use, but just 29 percent in Britain were happy to do so. Workers in developed economies were more concerned to keep work and private life separate.

Britons, French and Brazilians were least likely to be able to relax after work hours -- 46 percent in each country said they could not. This was less of a problem in the United States, where 35 percent reported issues, and Mexico with 36 percent.

Overall, the private sector was found to be more open to consumer technology choices than the public sector, and small businesses more flexible than large enterprises.

"The developing world is much more aspirational about technology, sees it as much more than just a corporate tool, and has much more enthusiasm," said Stephen Murdoch, who heads Dell's large-enterprise and public-sector business in EMEA.

"That pervaded everything. We thought there would be much more interest from the more mature working environments. It was partly about being able to draw the line between work and home life," he told Reuters.

The consumerisation of IT is eroding the large corporate customer base that technology providers like Microsoft (MSFT.O) and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion RIM.TO enjoy, to the benefit of Apple (AAPL.O), Google (GOOG.O) and others.

As consumers become more tech-savvy and have more gadgets at home, they are less likely to tolerate the choices of IT managers, which are often made for reasons of convenience and cost-effectiveness and are slow to respond to market trends.

The study found that 43 percent of employees globally said IT problems were a regular frustration. Those in large enterprises, media-sector employees and younger workers were most likely to report such frustrations.

The study also found that 43 percent of employees around the world felt pressure to work longer hours, with just three out of five saying they could get their work done in regular 9 to 5 office hours.

More than half of those surveyed said they were free to download software to keep up with the latest technology. Mexico with 82 percent of employees and China with 79 percent led the way, while in Britain only 37 percent said they were allowed.

TNS Global conducted 8,360 20 minute interviews for the study in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Australia, China and India in October of this year.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan)

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