Adobe report: Global uncertainty is decreasing productivity, fueling innovation

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More than a third of enterprise managers have invested in new technologies to support employees through the past year’s uncertainty.

Global uncertainty — defined as the occurrence of unplanned news or events, globally and in the workplace — is hindering employees from getting work done. In a new report from Adobe, the Future of Time 2022 study, employees and managers report they are spending 3 hours a day during the workday reading or discussing news coverage today — with 70% saying this is more time than they spent a year ago. A large majority say this directly impacts their productivity.

Adobe report reveals how the workforce is affected by uncertainty

Between the global pandemic and conflict around the globe, it seems like change is the new constant in today’s world. Survey respondents admitted that the constant state of change is taking a toll on their well-being and work productivity:

  • At least 70% of all audiences agree that change is the new constant in the workplace and 64% of SMB leaders are concerned about the future success of their business amid growing uncertainty. Economic instability and inflation are perceived across all markets as the most personally concerning driver of uncertainty today. ​
  • 70% of all audiences report they are spending several additional hours during the workday absorbing or discussing news coverage compared to a year ago. 80% say this has a direct effect on productivity and overall job satisfaction. ​
  • Nearly 3 in 5 find work a welcome distraction in times of uncertainty and are turning to their workplace for support.

How the workforce is coping with uncertainty and change

Employees are seeking support from their companies through well-being services and technology. Over 70% of employees and managers say that digital solutions are facilitating and improving work relationships, including supporting managers in facilitating well-being check-ins, allowing easier feedback between employees and leaders, and fostering collaboration between employees.


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7 in 10 managers and employees also say they rely on digital tools for peace of mind at work, staying productive when they’re having trouble focusing, and to ease the stress of completing work when a coworker needs to take time off unexpectedly.

Employees whose employers have invested in digital solutions, such as productivity or collaboration tools, report significantly higher job satisfaction and work-life balance.

On the plus side, constant change equals constant innovation

Uncertainty is fueling business innovation and new ways of collaboration. Business leaders and employees are continually adapting — and already seeing benefits — by using their time and leveraging digital tools in new and creative ways. One in four SMB leaders feel that innovation has become a core business value over the past year.

Image source: Adobe.

Other survey results include:

  • 77% of SMB leaders and 79% of ENT managers say they want to help drive business innovation at their organization in the next year.
  • 69% of SMB leaders and 76% of ENT managers believe the culture at their companies will be more collaborative in the next year than ever before.
  • 71% of SMB leaders and 81% of ENT managers say in the next year, the culture at their organization will be more digitized than ever before.

Methodology for Adobe’s report

Edelman Data and Intelligence conducted a 20-minute survey among enterprise employees, enterprise managers, SMB leaders and SMB employees in eight global markets, fielded July 11–August 6, 2022.

Read the full report from Adobe.

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