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Studies done by The Ricoh Digital Empowerment were published earlier today, and the results reveal just how vital technology has become to the working world.

The survey asked 3,500 employees from around the world what they thought about the latest innovations in technology and how it affects business.

31% of the respondents felt that a lack of investment in new technology stunted the growth of a business. In addition to that, respondent report that as many as 42 days a year are wasted due to lack of relevant and capable technologies.

When it came to a choice between free food and better technology, 59% opted for the latter while only 18% chose the former.

Surprisingly, employees are extremely excited about artificial intelligence with 65% saying they believed that emerging technology would help them excel in their work.

41% of the respondents look forward to fewer repetitive tasks as AI becomes more widespread, but also acknowledge that investments in this kind of technologies would only be forthcoming if it cut costs.

"Organisations are looking to find ways of staying competitive and maintaining growth and the influx of new technologies, especially as AI and automation, have made the market competitive and complex. Most business leaders are aware that digital technologies are key to unlocking greater employee productivity and engagement but are looking to solutions and partners who can help them do so intelligently and sustainably," said the chief operating officer at Ricoh South Africa, Jacques van Wyk, on the findings of the survey.

Employees are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of emerging and existing technologies, while a few years ago AI was seen as the bad guy, ready to steal jobs. However, this survey shows that folks are more concerned about the benefits that AI brings with it, how it can only improve lives, and also benefit the company they work for.

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