03 December 2014

Is poor technology affecting your productivity?

On average, workers lose 11 days per year due to technology problems at work - can your business afford NOT to provide up-to-date technology?

A recent study suggests that workers lose 11 days per year because of technology problems at work. Could old or a lack of technology be holding back your business?

A survey of 1,000 employees was undertaken for Chelsea Apps Factory and most respondents believed they had more sophisticated technology at home compared to their office. This suggests that companies have been slow to improve their IT, despite the costs of technology falling over the years.

  • The worst problems were slow office broadband (28%), computers crashing (24%) and out-of-date software (17%)
  • 50% said their personal phone was better than their work one
  • Only 11% said their work tablet was better than their home version
  • A mere 29% said their work broadband was better than they had at home
  • Only the office printer was perceived as being better than their home printers
  • 47% would consider finding alternative employment because the technology in their workplace was so poor.

According to the research, poor IT provision in the workplace contributes to an average of 22 minutes of lost productivity per day. This adds up to about one day a month. For the UK workforce as a whole, it equates to 7.5 million lost working days every week!

See the Techspectations video for more information.

Technology as a productivity killer

Technology can be a double-edged sword. While it has the potential to help staff work quicker and more effectively, it can also be responsible for distracting workers, as demonstrated by the results of a CareerBuilder survey earlier this year.

24% of office workers admitted to spending at least an hour of their working day on personal communication, such as texting, emailing and making personal calls. Out of the ten main productivity killers, three of the top five were technology related: mobile phones and texting (50%), surfing the web (39%) and social media (38%).

How can you increase the productivity of your business?

Technology has been responsible for increasing the productivity of workers by 84% since the 1970s. However, as outlined above, for your business to reap the benefits, the technology needs to be up to date and used appropriately in the workplace.

One of the obvious pieces of advice would be to invest in modern equipment. If you don’t think you can afford this as a small business, remember that the risks of using outdated equipment could be more than the cost of new technology. You could also gradually improve your office tech – you don’t necessarily have to buy everything all at the same time. Here are some other suggestions:

  • Make sure your employees are able to work effectively wherever they are based. This is particularly important if you allow your staff to work flexibly from home or from other venues on a regular basis. A study by Ricoh uncovered that the majority of UK workers (75%) don’t have the right technology to do their jobs effectively when not at their desk.
  • If you’re going to spend money on new equipment, consider investing in wearable tech, such as smart watches and tech lanyards. Wearable technology has been shown to increase productivity by more than 8% and improve staff satisfaction by 3.5% in a study from Goldsmiths University of London
  • Make sure you have effective policies in place to prevent excessive use personal phones or social media. While there are benefits in allowing staff to access to social media at work, you need to define what ‘reasonable’ or ‘excessive’ use is.
  • Streamline your emails. Make sure you have appropriate filters for spam emails and encourage face to face conversations with colleagues in the same office. This reduces unnecessary emails and has the by-product of potentially improving office relationships.

Remember, it’s not always about technology. You can improve productivity by: