IT in the workplace: are you a shark or a squirrel?

Frustration with technology often brings out the worst in certain individuals. But whether this behaviour could realistically be described as ‘animal’ is a matter for debate.

Research group Taylor Nelson Sofres, however, has identified six common IT ‘types’ in the modern office – the shark, the squirrel, the magpie, the ostrich, the elephant and the dinosaur – after surveying a cross-section of UK employees. Encouragingly for managers, 39% of the respondents to the survey believe they are IT sharks, dealing with emails and reports efficiently and quickly. However, more than a fifth of respondents describe themselves as IT squirrels, who hoard indiscriminantly any information or emails they receive.

Another common type is the IT magpie – 18% of respondents described themselves in this way. The IT magpie tends to pick out the most interesting emails or report data, but will typically ignore the rest.

IT ostriches, accounting for 9% of the workforce, deal only with the easiest emails and put off difficult tasks. IT dinosaurs, who make up 6% of respondents, hate technology and always need help using it. Least common is the IT elephant, cited by 4% of respondents, who remembers everything first time so does not need to rely on technology.

Maria Lorenz, business development manager for Fujitsu Services, the company that commissioned the report, says that organisations need to support these different types of office animals by catering for their strengths and weaknesses. “For IT sharks, a strong support system is essential so they can solve problems quickly and get on with their work. For IT dinosaurs, training must be provided that helps them conquer their worries.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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