One study in the US, UK and Australia shows this trend, and how digital contracts can be improved beyond mere modernization.

As the world migrates to hybrid working environments and all-digital workflows, digital agreements and contracts are set to become more common.

In a survey of 1,400 enterprise workers across the US, the UK and Australia to study how digital signing of documents is expected to evolve, Adobe has discovered three factors worth watching. 

  1. 56% of enterprise employees found that the digital agreements they managed at work were “much more secure” than physical agreements. With a higher demand for documents on the cloud as organizations collaborate online, the respondents were inclined to utilize digital document management software and systems that aligned with their security and compliance standards.
  2. Pandemic-driven need for digital signing  
    In the current pandemic era, a high percentage of enterprise employees in the survey needed or preferred to sign agreements digitally, including job-related agreements (65%) and personal documents like child-care agreements (64%) or paperwork for medical consultations (63%).

    This signals a shift to digital documents and signatures as organizations adapt to new realities of the workplace.
  3. Gender-specific trends towards digital signing
    Male enterprise employees in the survey were more likely than women to be a necessary signatory for a document (88% vs 82%), or more likely to be the final signatory for a document or agreement to be approved or completed (75% vs 61%).Enterprise employees in the survey indicated sending out an average of three follow ups, and the agreements took nearly eight days from start to finish. Women enterprise employees in the survey reported spending an average of 27 more minutes than men to secure signatures.

The survey suggests that organizations can take modernization one step further beyond technology—by using culturally-sensitive phrases and offering more flexible options for signees, to increase inclusivity and diversity.