UK businesses caught in negativity epidemic

People in the UK were the most likely to describe their working environment as uninspiring, highlighting a negativity epidemic.

UK businesses are in the grip of a negativity epidemic, as research from Sharp reveals that over two thirds (63 per cent) of office workers feel negatively about their workplace, with outdated ways of working causing low morale and low motivation across the country.

The survey of 6,000 office workers across Europe reveals that people in the UK are most likely to describe their working environment as uninspiring (34 per cent versus European average of 28 per cent); with some also choosing to describe it as grim, oppressive and toxic. A quarter of workers say their office was quiet and 23 per cent think it was boring. Only 17 per cent would describe their environment as motivating.

Asked why they described their office in this way, a third blame outdated and frustrating ways of working (35 per cent), while a quarter say that too long is spent on boring admin tasks (24 per cent) and 23 per cent that everyone communicates over email, instead of talking.

Technology in the workplace was also identified as a major pain point, with just over half (51 per cent) of respondents saying it is restrictive and limiting. The average UK worker was found to get frustrated at their office tech three times a day, or 16 times over a working week – driving 32 per cent to pretend something was broken so they could avoid using it, and 41 per cent to use their personal devices instead.

Millennial workers (defined as those born after 1982), were more likely than the other age groups to say that they would be more motivated if their office had up to date technology (43 per cent). However, 45 per cent of this same age group, despite having no experience of working life without computers and the internet, sometimes avoid using the technology in their office because it is too complicated, compounding the negativity.

Stuart Sykes, managing director, Sharp UK comments, ‘Making sure everyone feels motivated is important for creating a happy workplace, where people want to and can do their best work. Technology only improves motivation if it’s helpful and easy to use; otherwise it becomes a de-motivator, either not being used, or worse, causing frustration. Look at the tools you use, the tools you need and make those improvements that help people enjoy coming to work.

‘Within the next 10 years, Millennials will make up the majority of our workforce, so it’s important that we learn from the younger workers, welcome new ideas and new insights, and provide smarter technology that is as easy to use as consumer devices.’

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