Inadequate office technology is severely harming workplace productivity, sapping over a hundred working hours per person every year, according to research published today.

A study published by Insight, entitled Are UK Businesses Creating the Modern Workplace, or Falling at the First Hurdle?, found that UK workers waste an average of 2.4 hours a week grappling with inadequate or ill-suited technology, equivalent to 1.8 billion working hours a year across the country.

80% of the 2,000 UK office workers surveyed also said they have felt that they don’t have the technology to do their jobs properly.

How office technology failures are harming productivity

Poor technology comes in a host of forms. For many, companies are investing in technology without accompanying education or training, meaning workers are given technologies or apps without information about how they will help their jobs – or even how to use them. This is a problem that 77% of those surveyed have experienced.

Not enough technological solutions or equipment to complete tasks effectively is also a significant issue, faced by 71% of workers in the UK.

For many, there are also concerns about technologies to support remote or flexible working, with many workplaces supporting these in principle but not offering suitable technologies to support them in practice.

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“In 2019, employees shouldn’t be complaining that technology makes their lives harder,” said Emma de Sousa, UK Managing Director at Insight.

“The world is changing; for many “work” is no longer a specific place, but something you do. People want to work when and where they want, and expect employers to provide a technology experience that enables – rather than hinders – this.

“If this isn’t embraced, all sides will suffer – from workers who are increasingly frustrated with their employer to businesses that suffer lost productivity and find it harder to attract and retain employees.”

Workplace communications: a world of noise

The survey also looked at the effectiveness of internal communications as a means to engage employees – with concerning results.

For most UK workers, these communications are a flood of noise, with irrelevant information outweighing meaningful and useful messages.

Only 47% said they received internal communications that were actually relevant to them, while 60% ignore such communications unless they are directly brought to their attention.

For companies, the research indicates a need for a rethink when it comes to technology and communications.

“Businesses should strive to keep workers informed and involved, however, company information and updates are being ignored as a result of information overload. In contrast, as a consumer, you have access to a wide range of technology and devices, where information received and shared is tailored based on the user preferences; businesses need to take the same approach,” said de Sousa.

“Technology in the workplace that cannot help streamline communication, keep employees engaged and support a healthy work-life balance is not fit for purpose.”

Read more: Do you trust your data? Your employees may not agree