European executives recognise that younger workers are interacting with technology in different ways, yet do not provide modern tools to support these expectations new research has found.

The study into workplace trends, undertaken by Forrester Consulting, reveals that a new generation of workers born since 1980 expect mobile, collaborative and remote tools that few businesses have implemented.

In ‘Is Europe Ready for the Millennials?’, the consultancy found that while large numbers of companies in the UK provide their workforce with basic tools, such as unrestricted use of paper printing (68%), mobile phones (41%) and laptop PCs (37%), only a small minority offer the newer, ‘Millennial-friendly’ collaborative working tools, such as webcasts, blogs, video conferencing, or remote access to the internet or email.

Only 44% of UK executives say they currently collaborate online with their suppliers and partners for product and service development, and as many as 59% said they have no plans to post information on community sites or blogs.

More than half of UK respondents expect to see increases in the percentage of employees using mobile phones, webcasts, and PDAs, which rises to over 60% for laptop PCs and over three-quarters (82%) for mobile email devices. But fewer than 60% of UK organisations surveyed currently provide any significant percentage (of 25% of employees or more) with these tools.

Russell Peacock, managing director of Xerox UK, who commissioned the research, said companies should invest in technology that enables collaborative working and supports web-based tools such as conferencing, blogs and wikis.

“Millennials expect information that is both accessible and productive,” he said. “They expect automated customisation and updating and they expect it to communicate content in the most effective way. Organisations in the UK need to start embracing the ‘millennial’ way of working in order to keep up with the way their customers and partners want to do business.”

The research surveyed more than 1,600 business executives across 16 European countries.