Small business productivity held back by poor use of technology

Three quarters of British employees find they are less productive away from their desks, research finds.


Three quarters of British employees find they are less productive away from their desks, research finds.

Most feel they do not have the right technology to work effectively away from the office, according to a study by Ricoh.

The survey of more than 1,000 respondents finds only 25 per cent of employees feel particularly productive when working from home. Just 9 per cent felt productive in other offices and 8 per cent in transit, compared with 75 per cent when at their desk.

Phil Keoghan, CEO of Ricoh UK says that UK employees feel technology has vastly improved productivity in and out of the office, but there is still a lot of room for further improvement.

‘With the recent drive towards a mobile workforce, it is surprising that so few people feel they are as productive when working at home or away from the office. It is particularly worrying that people feel less productive at other company offices, where it is very easy to replicate their working environment.

‘This is not about spending a fortune on technology, it is largely about making simple policy changes to allow people easy access to company networks, providing people with laptops and tablets, and training them in how to use them,’ he adds.

‘It is great to see that so many people have embraced mobile working. Now, their employers need to equip them to do their jobs properly when away from their desks.’

Employees are embracing mobile working, with 61 per cent saying they sometimes work from home. But a further 22 per cent reveal they want to work from home but don’t have the right technology, and nearly half (44 per cent) of those who do work from home say not having the right technology hampers their productivity.

Working in transit is less popular, with only 40 per cent of respondents doing so, though a further 20 per cent would if they had the right equipment. Of those that do, 40 per cent say they would be more productive in transit if they had access to better technology.

Where implemented effectively, technology is seen as a vital enabler of productivity, especially for a mobile workforce. Respondents felt their productivity had been improved over recent years thanks to smartphones (67 per cent), cloud (59 per cent), tablets (52 per cent), video conferencing (52 per cent), and print management (49 per cent).

IT and lateness are the biggest hindrance to productivity. More than half of respondent (54 per cent), say one to three hours per week were wasted with IT problems and exactly the same was said about waiting for people who were late for calls and meetings.

A total of 146 respondents name meetings, largely citing either lateness or pointlessness, and 84 cite IT and printing issues as the biggest waste of time. Only three mention social media.

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