All hands on tech: the impact of outdated technology

The preoccupations of today’s working culture are agility, efficiency and productivity.

It makes sense – as the business world continues to become more competitive, there have to be factors that separate the leaders from the pack.

How an office handles information is crucial to how quickly it can respond to opportunities and gain an advantage over its rivals.

Many businesses would assume that the technology in their workplace would help to make it easier to store, share and handle information, but in the real world, out of date devices and technology that is hard to use are forcing employees to waste one of their company’s biggest currencies: time.

>See also: Are workers ready for the workplace of the future?

Research from Sharp has revealed that almost 40 minutes are wasted per employee per day in UK offices, the equivalent of 167 hours, costing businesses over £2,100 per employee per year.

This adds up to the average office worker wasting at least 21 days each year due to slow or inefficient technology, which is longer than most UK office workers get for their paid annual leave.

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 10 minutes waiting for pages to come out.

This ‘dead time’ might be more costly than you first think.

Besides seconds, minutes and hours, companies risk losing opportunities, profits and even their employees; over half of workers surveyed (53%) said that they would be more productive, and nearly one in seven (14%) admitted that they would stop looking for another job if their office had better technology.

What can companies do to get this time back?

With the exception of Doctor Who, nobody can solve their timewasting problem with a time machine.

However, decision makers can turn to the latest products, which are easier to use, can automate routine tasks, and connect to each other, to take back some of those wasted minutes.

>See also: The rise of intelligent automation in the workplace

Take those file searches for example; your company can reduce that ‘23 minutes per day’ average by using document management tools which help automatically capture, index and archive documents.

This forces staff to save files in the right locations, preventing them from creating new, harder to find folders.

Top tips to stop slips while the clock ticks

Decision makers should also be prepared to change their company’s culture to make efficiency a priority and improve their employee experience.

Having up-to date, relevant technology in your office is key.

But seemingly small employee habits can still waste significant amounts of valuable time.

Once the right technology is in place, further improve upon file search time by agreeing with colleagues a standard naming convention for saving files and make sure it is adhered to.

You can also save time (as well as resources) by encouraging staff to more thoroughly proof hard copies of large documents before printing.

>See also: Reimagining the workplace: how the office is changing

Often mistakes are discovered just after the “print” button has been pushed on 100 copies.

Some decision makers might put off updating their office technology over concerns on short-term disruption to the working environment or worries over the impact it could have on their budget.

However, the long term benefits of having the right technology in place should not be overlooked.

Whether its new whiteboards, the latest multi-function printers or an innovative cloud solution, these technologies can support the changing needs of employees and enable businesses to get the best out of their team; making for a more motivated, productive workplace.

Rather than being a daily source of frustration that wastes time, technology deserves to be seen as a ‘helping hand’ that offers your employees a true advantage.

But technology can only get you so far. It is not just about having the right hardware and software; it is about making efficiency a priority and having the right working culture in place too.


Sourced by Stuart Sykes, managing director at Sharp Business Systems UK

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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