Here's why so many UK businesses are facing a negativity epidemic

Stuart Sykes
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Woman Works At Computer
Time for an upgrade? (Source: Getty)

It's no secret that many businesses are still running on technology that looks as though it’s been on this earth longer than the dinosaurs.

Nor should it be a surprise that it costs these businesses vast amounts of both their time and money. When technology is advancing at an incredible rate, it’s no longer acceptable for this to be happening. What might be less expected, however, is that this ongoing reliance on legacy technology is fostering a negativity epidemic across UK offices.

Decision makers need to remember that the key to making the most of technology is to not allow their company to fall too far behind. If they have any equipment in their workspace that breaks down quickly, or slows down work activity, it will frustrate their staff, leaving them demotivated and far less likely to remain engaged with their work.

Wake up from a nightmare

New research we have conducted has unfortunately found that this hypothetical nightmare is still very much a reality for many businesses across the UK. Roughly two thirds (63 per cent) of UK office workers in the study said they feel negatively about their workplace, with outdated ways of working causing low morale and motivation across the country.

The survey of 6,000 office workers across Europe revealed that people in the UK were the most likely to describe their working environment as uninspiring (34 per cent versus a European average of 28 per cent); with some choosing to describe it as “grim”, “oppressive” and “toxic”. Worryingly, only 17 per cent would describe their work environment as “motivating”.

A third blamed their frustrations on outdated ways of working, while a quarter said that they spent far too much time on boring admin tasks. Nearly as many said that not enough people actually speak to each other: they all communicate over email.

Walking with dinosaurs

Workplace technology was identified as the major antagonist, with over half of respondents claiming that what they work with is too restrictive. The average UK worker was found to get irritated by technology three times a day.

Businesses looking to “wake up” from this negativity nightmare, and foster greater respect from their employees, can do so by staying in touch with the way their staff and customers engage with technology. They need to leave behind these office technology demons causing daily irritation, and be prepared to provide the connectivity most appropriate for their work environment.

This is especially important in the lines of work that require staff to analyse, create or discuss ideas and information. Accountants, engineers, marketeers and sales teams are all examples of those that thrive on collaboration with others, and keeping their proverbial “fingers on the pulse” of the latest thinking.

Businesses do also need to recognise that solving their technology problems won’t necessarily solve their staff negativity problems entirely. Many jobs are currently set up with a certain level of bureaucracy that doesn’t allow workers the autonomy they need to get their work done efficiently. These brick walls can affect motivation in a similar way to technology, allowing certain things, but not allowing others, officially restricting employees by design. Frustration obviously ensues.

It isn’t too late for businesses to start addressing this negativity epidemic. Embracing new technology and ensuring it is part of a connected environment will not only enable a more efficient and user-friendly work experience, it will also ensure that employees are happier, and feel more proud to work within their office environments.

Stuart Sykes is managing director of Sharp Business Systems UK.

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