Working with technology could be detrimental to productivity in the workplace, costing businesses more then they are worth.
Working with technology could be detrimental to productivity in the workplace, costing businesses more than they are worth.
In any office environment where a lack of efficiency can be called into question, it is often extended lunch breaks, mindless chatter at the coffee machine or meetings that overrun that get the blame. But, in today’s tech-filled landscape, offices are also heavily dependent on up to date technology for speeding up and completing simple tasks. Could this reliance on outdated technology become a massive hinderance to productivity in the workplace?
New research has revealed that the average office worker wastes at least 24 days of worktime each year waiting on slow or outdated hardware or software – that’s longer than the paid annual leave allowance of many UK workers. Read on to discover the true impact outdated technology can have on businesses.
It’s a common problem
It turns out that computer troubles could be the thing that unites the nation, as 9 in 10 Brits admit they experience tech-related issues in the workplace. With the majority of workers feeling held back by their technology, it shouldn’t be a surprise that waiting for programs to load, screens to un-freeze and computers to boot up can hinder productivity.
In fact, 1 in 5 people stated that technology that can’t keep pace causes them to regularly lose focus. This can have a seriously negative effect on employee morale if left unchecked. Technology evangelist and self-styled anti-futurist, Theo Priestley agrees, “People like to feel empowered in their roles with the right tools to help them achieve their goals and add value to the organisation.”
“They feel a sense of pride in completing work and see where this fits into the overall business itself,” he explains.
When time is money
In a world where time is money, outdated technology and software systems can cost a business £1,193 per employee, as tech-related delays can eat into up to 10.4 days of work time. And, that’s just opening software. While it may seem expensive to invest money in regularly upgrading and updating technology, businesses could be haemorrhaging more than that simply by paying employees to wait for the tech to keep up. The average employee loses 46 minutes per day, to technological delays. That is nearly an hour of work that businesses are paying for with no return.
In fact, the simple act of employees booting up their computer can rack up a cost of just over £1k and around 8.8 days of actual work time for the average British worker. The total (and shocking) figure is just shy of £3k per year, per person, for starting the computer, opening software, navigating meeting technology and opening emails. All it takes is a quick headcount to see the figures radically start to add up.
Issues with technology go further than just time-wasting, as resentment can fester when delays reoccur. According to the study, 1 in 5 people stated that their company’s IT department are so inundated with work, they usually cannot help with most technical issues. This can not only leave companies with an overworked IT department but also a team that can’t work if faced with issues. In attempts to be proactive, nearly a quarter of workers confirmed they usually try to fix their IT issues themselves, which means it is valuable time taken away from projects and deadlines. So, the negative impact of slow computer hardware and software can be felt across the office.
When the main purpose of tech is to enhance the level of output produced by employees – not hinder it, what happens when the machines are working against employees? Well, simply put; they leave. When faced with regular computer and software problems, 1 in 10 people revealed they would go as far as to say that it makes them want to quit their job.
It’s clear to see why – when even the simplest of tasks take longer than necessary, but deadlines don’t change to accommodate this, it can cause unnecessary stress. When questioned further, over a quarter of British workers revealed they feel pressure to put in overtime to make up the time lost due to outdated tech-related delays. When employees are sacrificing their personal time to complete work, it can allow resentment to fester, which may force them to seek a position at a company that can offer them a better work/life balance.
Poor staff retention alone can be a steep cost for any business. It can potentially add up to much more than regularly updating technology, when you’re constantly having to spend money on the lengthy recruitment process. Priestley echoes this; ”employee retention could be dented, because employees simply want to work for an organisation that has invested in technology to support them, not hinder them. I believe this is as much a part of the hiring process that candidates should enquire about as finding out about the culture.”
It is clear to see that when technological advances are made, businesses must keep up with them. This investment can save time and money in the business sector, which can result in a happier, more content workforce.