IT failures cost UK companies £35B per year in lost productivity

Some 32% of workers in the UK said that their workplace IT systems prevented them from doing a good job, according to a new report from Managed 24/7.

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The UK's productivity crisis may have found its culprit: IT. Workplace technology failures could cost UK companies £35 billion per year, or about $45 billion, according to a report from IT managed services provider Managed 24/7, released Wednesday.

The average private sector employee in the UK who uses IT systems and reports wasted time at work said they waste an average of nearly 6% of that time due to technology problems, the report found. This equates to losing 27 minutes per day, 2.5 hours per week, or more than one working day per month, the report noted.

While technology issues hurt workplaces in terms of productivity and bottom-line costs, they also damage the quality of work performed, the report found. Of the 2,015 private sector employees surveyed for the report, 32% said that their workplace IT systems are harming their ability to do a good job. This number rises to 37% for firms with more than 500 employees.

Further, 44% of professionals said they believe IT problems directly cost their companies time and money, and 24% of those who had experienced tech issues said that those problems also caused customers to complain. Again, this number rises to 30% in large firms. And 40% of employees reported that they have better IT systems at home than at work.

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The top three IT issues workers experienced in the last year were slow-running systems and equipment (65%), connection failures (54%), and outdated software (32%). When these issues arise, some 34% of all tech users said they did not feel that they received sufficient IT support. And 15% of those working at large companies with more than 500 employees said that it typically takes more than a day for issues to be resolved.

The industries that experience the greatest time losses due to IT issues were retail (28 minutes per day), hospitality and leisure (26 minutes per day), legal (25 minutes per day), and finance and accounting (23 minutes per day).

"The UK is facing a productivity crisis," said John Pepper, CEO and founder of Managed 24/7, in a press release. He noted that the nation is currently ranked last in a group of seven major advanced nations for productivity per person, behind Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the US.

"It takes a German worker four days to produce what his or her UK counterpart does in five and this crisis is resulting in the UK lagging well behind other developed nations," Pepper said in the release. "In light of recent outages such as at British Airways and the NHS, it is time for the UK to address the issue to ensure we aren't left behind by our more agile neighbours."

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. Workplace technology failures cost UK companies an estimated £35 billion per year in lost work time, according to a report from IT managed services provider Managed 24/7.

2. The average private sector employee in the UK who uses IT systems and reports wasted time said they waste an average of nearly 6% of their total working time due to technology problems.

3. The top three IT issues faced by workers were slow-running systems and equipment, connection failures, and outdated software.

Image: iStockphoto/grinvalds

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By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.