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Telenor Asia’s ‘Digital Lives Decoded’ survey reveals

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69 percent of Bangladeshis believe mobile device and technology positively impacts their career and skills development

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Telenor Asia conducted a study titled “Digital Lives Decoded” across eight markets in South and Southeast Asia last year. 5 key trends functioning as pivots for digital adaptation were underlined through the initial revelation. Subsequently, Telenor Asia unveiled the second part of their study which outlines transforming work modalities backed by mobile connectivity. Improved productivity, enhanced career skills and tapping into new business opportunities are just some of the ways people in Asia are turning to their mobile phones to enhance their working lives, according to a study by Telenor Asia.

The second part of the ‘Digital Lives Decoded’ series unveils how people are using their mobiles to adapt to changing realities, as new work cultures emerge post-pandemic. The predominant message of has been that mobile connectivity can supercharge careers, but employers need to emphasize on improving workplace policies and practices. It suggested that improvement in productivity, enhanced career skills and tapping into new business opportunities remain as effective ways that users in Asia are adapting for better outcomes in their professional lives. At the same time, the study goes on to analyze the dimensions of hybrid work culture, and how it influences the employee-employer relationships.

“Our research points to mobile connectivity as an enabler of productivity, progress, flexibility and economic opportunity. Yet, we continue to see gaps in how this technology is used between urban and rural populations, large companies, and SMEs, between industries and even between C-suite executives and their junior counterparts”, said Jørgen Rostrup, Head of Telenor Asia, discussing the merit and objective of the study. “People remain highly concerned about their skills and ability to keep pace with advancing technology. The aspect of trust is also preventing people from realizing their full potential through mobile use in the world of work. As time spent working online increases, our survey findings can help identify the right tools and knowledge to close these gaps and improve digital work lives”, he added.

Yasir Azman, CEO, Grameenphone, stated, “The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated digital adaptation- significantly reducing the digital divide, empowering communities across the nation, including the far-flung areas. Majority of people have witnessed the enabling role of mobile devices and technology in Bangladesh, as reflected in the report; now, we take it upon us to enable even the last mile citizens with digital skills to unlock opportunities, ensuring that we leave no one behind to build a sustainable economy.” He further added, “Mobile connectivity can play an instrumental role in transforming work modality which can improve communication, enhance productivity, ensure transparency, and create new opportunities. Embracing the future of mobile connectivity is pivotal for Smart Bangladesh in the making.”

The study was conducted among 8000 mobile internet users across Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. In Bangladesh, 57 percent were found to report a 20 percent or more increase in productivity due to mobile device and technology, while for 26 percent it was definitely over 50 percent. While delineating positive impact of mobile device and technology on career and skills development, 69 percent of Bangladeshi respondents reported to have found significant improvement. In terms of gender-based inputs, 73 percent female and 67 percent male respondents agreed to have gained significant improvement in their career and skills development. 57 percent in here believes that new income streams can be afforded by mobile devices, with 54 percent admitting its ability to help them access new job and career opportunities. 54 percent Bangladeshi respondents believe they will use their mobile device significantly more in the next 06 to 12 months for work purposes. Furthermore, for 61 percent Bangladeshi respondents, privacy and security was the most significant barriers to fully utilizing mobile technology and/or its features to its fullest potential at work, while lack of trust in technology and lack of skills and knowledge were also mentioned by 49 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

The key highlights of the second part, cited as ‘Part Two: Work’, are as follows –

  1. More Women and C-suite executives say they gain from mobile connectivity for work: 54 percent of women respondents said their mobile phones help them access better job and career opportunities, compared to 46 percent men. 61 percent of C-suite executives also agreed that mobile devices have significantly improved their careers and skills development, in comparison to 47 percent junior-level employees. 60 percent C-suite executives also reported to believe that their productivity has improved by over 20 percent because of mobile technology, while 53 percent of the same group expressing concerns regarding becoming outdated in this fast-paced working environment.
  2. Workplace policies lag behind: In Bangladesh, 34 percent respondents thought that workplace policies are unhelpful. With 82 percent local companies fully utilizing the potential, 91 percent still think that there are scopes for more training on mobile technology in Bangladesh. Globally, 49 percent respondents mentioned of lack of skills and knowledge; 31 percent of resistance to changing practices and habits; and 28 percent grieved unhelpful workplace policies. Simultaneously, 62 percent respondents stated learning and development as an area where their employers could improve the use and application of mobile technology; with 54 percent denoting HR systems and processes as another area for improvement.
  3. Trust issues on the rise: Privacy and data security in the digital and tech sphere still remains an area of disputes and distrust, as privacy and security, and lack of trust were flagged as areas of high concerns by 60 and 40 percent of respondents, respectively. These concerns are the primary cause why the respondents refrain from utilizing mobile technology at work for better benefits. In Bangladesh, lack of trust in technology was evident in 49 percent respondents’ opinions.

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