Worker productivity slowed by old tech

Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Worker productivity slowed by old tech

Outdated technology, unnecessary meetings and unproductive workflow are seeing workers waste valuable hours, research shows.

Nitro surveyed more than 1000 Australian office workers to better understand the productivity challenges faced by employees and consequently, steps employers can take to increase their return on employee investment.

The study revealed that the top five productivity pain points include:

  • Outdated processes, policies and workflows (59%).
  • Poor management or leadership (56%).
  • Negative workplace culture (54%).
  • Outdated tools or technology (48%).
  • Insufficient training (38%).

“There’s nothing more deflating than getting into the office early to smash out some work before a hectic day of meetings, only to realise you can’t work on a file you need to update because you don’t have the right software,” said Michael Helder, Nitro Vice President of APAC.

Office workers cited lack of access to software or technological tools to complete a task (28%) and being unable to read a poorly scanned or photocopied document (21%) as common productivity pain points.

Faced with a calendar full of meetings they wish they could reduce (43%), more than a quarter of workers now say the most productive part of their day is before (21%) or after (4%) office hours.

A whopping 70% of all workers said lack of proper training across the board was responsible for much of the loss in productivity.

Previous Nitro research shows the average knowledge worker loses four hours a week on paper-based admin challenges alone.

“For an employee on an $80K annual salary, employers are pouring more than $8000 a year down the productivity drain,” Helder said.

The report found Gen X and baby boomer employees were twice as likely to feel neglected by their employers when it comes to training or investment in the latest technologies, compared to 18- to 25-year-olds.

Despite ABS data showing older workers make up almost half (44.4%) the public sector and more than a third (38.4%) of the private sector, organisations are increasingly catering to younger digital natives, leaving older workers untrained and ill-equipped to cope with rapidly changing technologies.

Public sector workers in particular feel their time is being wasted at work, with 62% claiming outdated tools or technology was holding them back. Across the board, almost a third (27%) of public sector workers said their organisation was ‘not so supportive’ when it came to boosting productivity. It was the highest among 11 sectors studied including marketing (16%), health care (13%) and hospitality (9%), with the overall average recorded at 19%.

Key research findings:

  • Women were 70% more likely to view insufficient training as a reason for being less productive at work (women, 43% and men, 30%).
  • Australians working in the public sector were the most likely to have their computer crash at work (55%).
  • Senior management (67%) were more likely to find outdated processes, policies and technology more cumbersome than those in mid-level positions, a group that placed the highest emphasis on poor management or leadership (60%).
  • C-suite employees ranked standardising digital tools and technology such as e-signatures the most important at 63%.
  • Three key areas to boost productivity include reducing frequency of meetings (43%), expanding training and certification (36%) and standardising digital tools (30%).
  • Mornings (54%) were the most productive time of day for Australian workers, followed by early mornings before office hours (21%), afternoons (13%), midday (8%) and evenings (4%).

Image credit: ©

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