Report highlights toll of outdated office computers, software, printers

A ZenBusiness study found more than 50% of people said their office was moderately or completely outdated.

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Employers are costing themselves time and money because of outdated technology slowing workers down, according to a study released by business tech company ZenBusiness

The company created a survey with Amazon Mechanical Turk and spoke with 917 people evenly split between working at a small business, midsize business and large company. 

The study found that, on average, employees estimate nearly an hour each day is lost due to technology malfunctioning or moving slowly while almost $4,000 is lost each year. 

More than 80% of respondents cited computers as the most commonly outdated technology they use at their workplace while software came in second at 70.5%. Many people also cited printers and displays as tech that constantly failed. 

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"On iOS, it's called the 'spinning beach ball,' more affectionately coined the 'spinning rainbow ball of death.' For PC users, it's an hourglass. It turns out that we stare at loading screens and deal with other technological interruptions for longer than we realize," ZenBusiness researchers said in the study.

Crumbling technological tools had cascading effects on an organization, causing more and more problems as employees sought alternate options or replacement tools. Cybersecurity was one of the biggest things respondents said was affected by having aging programs and devices.

About 40% of people who spoke to ZenBusiness said they considered looking for new employment because of the weak cybersecurity exacerbated by tools that couldn't be updated.

For many, the problem boiled down to either inadequate budgets or money that had misspent on technology that didn't work. More than 50% said their workplace technology was moderately or completely outdated. 

When employees tried to discuss their problems with superiors they were often met with derision or ignorance about how the issues could be solved. One 30-year-old teacher who spoke with ZenBusiness said that "positive responses are rare."

"My employer often makes me feel like a nuisance for asking for supplies or technology, even if it's essential," the unnamed teacher told the survey's researchers. 

Inadequate tools were forcing people to spend their own money to supplement the failings of their employer or share tools with other beleaguered employees. Almost 40% of respondents said they spent a median amount of $100 per year purchasing their own supplies while one in five said they avoided the office entirely because of the woeful technology.  

Younger, millennial employees were turning to digital solutions like Slack to supplement workplace tools that made it difficult for cross-company teamwork and increased collaboration. 

"The relative size of a company may also have a lot to do with an office having outdated materials. Employees working at large businesses cited misallocated budgets as the top reason at 55.7% for outdated or lacking office resources. For small businesses that might be strapped for cash, the top reason was an inadequate budget at 62.4%," the survey said. 

"Regardless of business size, though, nearly 2 in 5 employees reported that their employer did not know what resources were needed. Shockingly, 43% of survey participants said the reason for outdated technology or lack of resources at their office was simply because their employer didn't care."

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A white desktop computer with keyboard, tower and monitor

 

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