Nearly eight out of ten Australian small to medium business (SMB) leaders say change is the new constant in the workplace, according to our recent Adobe Future of Time 2022 study.
From economic instability and inflation (70 per cent) to climate change (58 per cent) to COVID-19 variants (53 per cent), SMB leaders have real-world concerns that affect their businesses—and the ability to adapt to these changes has become more important than ever.
Navigating constant change and uncertainty is complex, and SMB leaders can’t do it all alone. Business leaders tell me they need the right digital tools to manage supply chain issues, enable flexible work for employees, ensure they’re staying up to date on the latest sustainability requirements, spot and adjust to changing customer behaviours, and so much more.
They relay that without the right digital tools, their ability to compete, innovate, be more productive, and collaborate effectively across locations and platforms is at stake.
Change in the workplace
Our research found that global uncertainties have made it difficult to focus on work, and almost half of SMB leaders feel unproductive at work when they learn of a negative news announcement. In fact, they get caught up in “doom-scrolling” through negative news and lose an average of three hours per day on news consumption compared to a year ago.
At the same time, more than half of SMB leaders say work is a welcome distraction.
Innovation being fueled by uncertainty
Necessity is the mother of invention, and at Adobe, we have witnessed SMB leaders rise to the occasion. Our research also found that eight in ten Australian SMB leaders say global uncertainty is forcing their businesses to innovate and find new ways to collaborate. It’s responsible for sharpening their entrepreneurial mindset and innovating in their position.
This innovation can come in many ways, and for a third of Australian SMB leaders, it’s manifested in adopting new technologies or upgrading existing ones for employees. The benefits have been immediate because more than two in three employees say they rely on digital tools for peace of mind at work in the face of constant change.
SMB leaders are continuing to rise to the challenge and expect that future investments in digital tools will enhance productivity (86 per cent), manage uncertainty (75 per cent), collaboration (81 per cent), innovation (84 per cent), and retention (72 per cent).
The rise of the digital workplace
With the Covid-19 pandemic changing the world almost overnight, all industries across the world had to adapt overnight and continue their work in the “new normal”. Collaboration platforms like Adobe, Microsoft teams, Confluence and Miro became part of everyday work life, and teams worldwide quickly caught up with digital trends and software. Nearly 70 per cent of Australian SMBs now depend on digital solutions to do more with less amidst labour shortages.
Some of the common solutions are Microsoft Teams, which digitally unites several aspects of working together in a physical office; Adobe, which provides various capabilities across Creative Cloud; Document Cloud and Experience Cloud, which helps businesses take quick action.
Embracing technology to manage uncertainty
While uncertainty is part of doing business for entrepreneurs of any size, SMBs can be impacted more than larger enterprises. The good news is today; digital technology has a wide range of tools to improve communications, document processing, finance, HR, and virtually every other aspect of business operations.
For SMB leaders, the key is embracing these digital tools, adopting them, and introducing new levels of efficiency to manage the uncertainty of the world they are operating.