Fixing IT Problems Could Save SMEs Millions of Hours

Small and medium sized businesses across the UK could save around 5 million working hours every week by fixing everyday IT problems, according to a survey of more than 600 business leaders.

The research into office productivity, conducted by ICT provider Brother UK and YouGov, showed that just over a fifth (21%) of senior leaders in SME businesses believe that solving printer problems are one of the top things wasting employee time, while 20% think computer crashes are zapping productivity. 

Such common IT failures significantly waste employee time, with survey data showing 75% of business leaders estimating that each of their employees spend one to two hours per week in front of frozen computer screens. Over two thirds (71%) thought a similar number of hours were wasted each week by faulty printers.    

Other drains on employee productivity identified by the survey are staff not being able to find documents either on a server or as hardcopies (28%) and workplace equipment (excluding printers) not working properly (21%).

Yet, when it comes to taking action, only 21% of leaders cited quicker IT support as one of the top three things which would improve productivity. The survey showed that business leaders are more focused on increasing employee training (41%) and recognising and rewarding employee performance (38%) as the most effective ways to improving how they work.

Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director at Brother UK, said: “Productivity is a big issue for ambitious SMEs, and it’s great that so many business leaders see investing in employee training and rewards as key to smarter ways of working. However, such investment can be worthless if staff can’t rely on the office infrastructure and equipment. 

“As the survey data shows, millions of hours of employee time are wasted through typical IT errors that many people will be all too familiar with. It’s easy to overlook the common issues that have, wrongly, become part of the working day. Fixing these issues can deliver quick and long-term productivity wins that improve staff morale as well as benefitting the balance sheet. The trick is to preserve a small amount of time to look for the seemingly inconsequential things that waste time.”

When asked about other ways of boosting productivity, just over one third of leaders said introducing mandatory regular screen breaks would have a positive impact (34%), 16% said a change office ergonomics would help and 1 in 10 (11%) said they would limit website access.

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 630 senior decision makers from small and medium businesses. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th - 24th February 2017.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of business size.

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