Workplace technology may make us more productive, but it is also a source of increasing irritation for senior managers and business owners, according to research published by ABN AMRO Commercial Finance. Carried out by YouGov on behalf of ABN Amro, the survey found that 53% of business leaders considered themselves more stressed today than they were five years ago, with technology identified as a particularly vexing problem.
Indeed, while 63% of respondents acknowledged that technology had resulted in higher productivity, a significant minority (27%) said it also made the workplace more irritating. Perhaps more worryingly, some business leaders questioned whether such irritation was worth it, with 31% saying IT and communications tools were causing more problems than they solved.
More than half the managers questioned cited systems failure as the biggest problem. However, email also ranked highly on the league of irritants, with 45% pointing to constantly overloaded inboxes as one of the biggest sources of stress.
There were also indications that some relatively new technologies were beginning to make their presence felt. Smartphone and social media usage were each identified as problems by more than a third of those surveyed, while 37% said technology was adversely affecting staff interaction.
The findings of the survey in part reflect the growing presence of new communications and IT in UK offices. “The workplace has changed hugely, even in the last five years,” says Gary Hurry, Director of Marketing at ABN AMRO Commercial Finance. “Smartphones, tablets, social media and other technology have increased our productivity but also raised stress levels and created a host of potential irritations.”
In some cases these irritations are minor, but as Gary points out, managers shouldn’t allow problems to mount and ultimately affect the business. “In today’s climate, small annoyances like this can be brought into sharp relief and even get in the way of the day-to-day running of companies,” adds Gary. “It’s important that business heads don’t let these modern irritations stop them tackling the things that really matter to business success.”
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