Poor use of technology holding back UK & Ireland office productivity

Workers in offices across the UK and Ireland are less productive when working from home, and blame technology for the gap

New Ricoh research offers insights into UK productivity in and out of the office

New research suggests mobile working is not seeing its full potential, with three quarters of British employees saying they are less productive away from their desks. Most felt they do not have the right technology to work effectively away from the office.

The research, developed and commissioned by IT services company Ricoh UK, found only 25% of employees feel particularly productive when working from home. Just 9% felt productive in other offices and 8% in transit, compared with 75% when at their desk.

Alan Stewart, ICT Consultant

Alan Stewart, ICT Consultant

Alan Stewart, ICT Consultant at Precept IT in Belfast Northern Ireland, comments on these findings: “The overwhelming message from this research is that employees feel technology has vastly improved productivity in and out of the office, but there is still a lot of room for 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.”

About the research

Mobile working – good, but could be better

The research shows employees embracing mobile working, with 61% saying they sometimes work from home. But a further 22% said they want to work from home but don’t have the right technology, and nearly half (44%) of those who do work from home say not having the right technology hampers their productivity.

Working in transit was less popular. Only 40% of respondents work in transit, though a further 20% would if they had the right equipment. Of those that do, 40% said 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%), cloud (59%), tablets (52%), video conferencing (52%), and print management (49%).

Responses were fairly consistent across age groups, highlighting technology’s growing ubiquity and wide acceptance.

What holds back productivity?

The research sought to identify what most hampered workplace productivity.

IT and lateness were identified as the biggest concerns. Over half, 54%, said 1-3 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.

When asked to specifically name the biggest waste of time in their company, 146 named meetings, largely citing either lateness or pointlessness, and 84 cited IT and printing issues. Surprisingly, only three mentioned social media.

Technology and productivity

Respondents were largely optimistic about how technology could improve productivity, and felt the following would be good investments for their company: virtual profiles allowing access to the IT set up from any device (50%); online collaboration tools (48%); and tablets to replace paper documents in meetings (44%).

Similar number of respondents hoped technology would eliminate the following tasks in the next few years: using paper records (52%), printing documents prior to meetings (46%), and taking written notes (43%).

Alan Stewart concludes “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. 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”.

The research was carried out amongst 1,007 full time, office based employees in UK private companies. ricoh_logoThe research was designed by Ricoh and the field work was carried out by Censuswide.

Got a question on remote working ?  Get in touch with Alan Stewart in the Precept IT office in Belfast on 0800 122 3010 or email hello@preceptit.com