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Office workers waste more time on slow tech than they spend on holiday

Office workers are wasting time using slow and outdated technology. In some cases, workers are wasting more time than they spend on holiday each year.
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Trying to run an office which is as efficient and productive as possible isn’t easy. Many people might think that technology can help us to achieve this, but in the real world, old devices and software that is not user-friendly are forcing people to waste valuable time.

New research from Sharp has uncovered that the average UK office worker wastes at least 21 days each year due to slow or outdated technology, a time-frame which is longer than the paid annual leave of many UK workers.

The survey of over 1,000 office workers in the UK found that this adds up to almost 40 minutes wasted per employee per day, the equivalent of 167 hours or four weeks of dead time every year, costing businesses over £2,100 per employee per year.

In comparison to our European neighbours, UK offices ranked as the third least productive, with only workers in France (21 days wasted) and Italy (23 days wasted) wasting more time.

The biggest time drain reported was searching for files on a server – 23 minutes per day – thanks to poor search tools. Other routine time wasters include using the printer: seven minutes spent each day waiting for it to warm up; and nearly ten minutes waiting for pages to come out.

The worst office offenders for outdated technology in the UK are in Sheffield, where each employee wastes an average of 53 minutes a day because of poor technology, amounting to 28 days over the course of a year. In Southampton, office workers were more likely to get caught waiting for the microwave, with an average of ten minutes wasted by each employee every day. Whilst workers in Manchester were revealed as the most helpful, but also the most tech-illiterate, wasting almost 15 minutes a day helping their colleagues to use the office technology.

This dead time spent using poor office systems and equipment means lost opportunities, lost profits and even lost employees. Worryingly, almost 80 per cent of respondents in the UK said that their workplace is out of date when it comes to technology. And if their office didn’t have such outdated technology, over half of workers (53 per cent) said they would be more productive, and nearly one in seven people (14 per cent) said they would stop looking for another job, suggesting a big opportunity for businesses to improve both output and staff retention.

The right office technology and information solutions can support the changing needs of employees and enable businesses to get the best out of their team, as well as making for a more motivated, productive workplace. Products that are easy and quick to use, that connect to each other and help to automate routine tasks – as simple as a printer which uses a motion sensor to wake up when you approach it or the ability to easily store and immediately access copies of documents directly from MFPs, whiteboards or any mobile device – can have a huge impact on productivity in the office by just removing waiting time. But it’s not just about having the right hardware and software; it’s about making efficiency a priority and changing behaviours too.

For more expert tips and advice that every office can try to take back those wasted minutes and hours, visit: www.sharp.co.uk/unlock.

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About Author

Letitia Booty

Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Real Business. She has a BA in english literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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