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The cost and time wasting of failing technology

Cal Lee

According to new research from serviced office specialist Workthere, the average UK worker is wasting 50 hours a year as a result of failing technology in the office, which Workthere estimates could result in an £11 billion loss for UK businesses, based on employment data from the ONS*. Contributor Cal Lee, Founder – Workthere.

In particular, the next generation of office workers, those aged between 16 and 24, struggle most with outdated tech, wasting 62 percent more time every week on inefficient technology (67 minutes) compared to their colleagues that are aged 55 or over (41 minutes). The survey of over 1,000 UK office workers, commissioned by Workthere and carried out by independent research company CensusWide, also found that it took around 42 working hours for an individual office employee to fully familiarise themselves with each new piece of software, which Workthere estimates equals around £830 worth of a professional employee’s time**.

With businesses having introduced an average of four pieces of new software over the past three years, 45 percent of workers claim that despite their employers’ investment in new technology, they don’t invest enough time into training staff to use it properly.

Cal Lee, founder of Workthere, commented: “With regards to the serviced office market in particular, the first thing we are asked about, after the cost, is what specification of technology will be available for a business to use. The office tech inventory can affect profits as well as play a vital role in the perception of a business, both internally and externally. Gone are the days of just ‘location, location, location’ – in the eyes of office workers, digital connectivity tops the list of innovations that will improve the office working experience in the next few years.”

Workthere found that office technology can have a direct impact on employee performance and efficiency, with many employees believing that their company’s investment into its office technology is linked to its investment into staff welfare and how it conducts business. The survey results showed that almost half (46 percent) of respondents said a business with cheap office technology is probably not going to invest in the wellbeing of its staff. In addition, 24 percent indicated that they wouldn’t be prepared to do business with companies that do not have the most up-to-date office technology.

While the research shows that the paper-reliant office is far from dead, with 73 percent of office workers using photocopiers and 42 percent fax machines, it also shows that 42 percent of respondents use cloud technology for file sharing and 36 percent have video conferencing capabilities.

Cal continues: “The digital revolution is clearly taking a firm grip of office spaces. We found that connected technology is by far the number one technology that office workers deem most useful to improve the way they work in the next five years, with voice activated tech and wireless charging pads taking spot two and three respectively.

“Whilst different businesses will have different priorities, office tech that works efficiently and improves productivity without proving a distraction, or making staff anxious about using it, is definitely high on the agenda for both staff and employers. It is therefore increasingly important for businesses to know that their office spaces are able to facilitate a smooth tech experience.”

 Permanent placements up 10 percent as employers shun short-term hiring

  • Permanent placements increase by 10 percent
  • Number of contractors out on assignment down 16 percent
  • Permanent vacancies up 0.3 percent
  • Contract vacancies slip 9 percent
  • Average salaries down 1.2 percent year-on-year

Permanent placements up
Professional recruitment firms reported that the number of candidates securing permanent roles in January 2018 increased by 10 percent year-on-year, according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). APSCo’s data, which focuses on professional recruitment, reveals that vacancies for permanent staff also remained strong, increasing by 0.3 percent over the same period. This stability is reflected in the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics which reported in February that UK employment levels now sit at 75.3 percent, a figure that was higher than a year earlier and the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971. While overall demand for talent remains resilient, vacancies for finance professionals to work on a permanent basis were particularly strong, jumping by 16 percent year-on-year.

Contractors out on assignment down
Demand for contractors decreased across many of the trade association’s core sector groups. Vacancies within engineering, for example, slipped by just 5 percent, while demand within IT and marketing fell more significantly (by 8 percent and 21 percent respectively). Finance was the only sector where vacancies for non-permanent roles increased, with demand for contractors up by 2 percent. The overall number of contractors out on assignment, meanwhile, dipped by 16 percent during the same period. This can largely be attributed to a significant 38 percent year-on-year fall in IT professionals working on a contract basis during this time.

Average salaries stable
APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors dipped by 1.2 percent year-on-year. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with financial services and engineering, for example, recording uplifts of 1.8 percent and 2.4 percent respectively.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments: “The market for permanent jobs started the year strongly, with financial services clearly leading the pack in terms of both demand and placements. The fact that the Bank of America has extended its London lease for another 10 years in commitment to the UK post-Brexit is indicative of the confidence that is driving this long-term approach to hiring in the sector. Looking forward, with recent research suggesting that financial services is one of the sectors that will be impacted least by Brexit, we expect this positivity to continue.”

John Nurthen, Staffing Industry Analysts’ Executive Director of Global Research commented: “There continues to be a clear split in demand for skilled professionals as staffing firms are finding it easy to place candidates into permanent roles but much more difficult to fill temporary and contract positions. This schism in demand is most obvious in the social work and engineering sectors. With the latest unemployment rate down in February to 4.4 percent from 4.8 percent a year earlier, this tight labour market is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”

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