Small firms waste '˜millions of hours' on IT problems

Small and medium-sized businesses across the UK could save about five million working hours every week by fixing everyday IT problems, according to a survey of more than 600 business leaders.

Printer problems are a major drain on employees' productivity, according to the Brother UK survey. Picture: Clara Molden/PA Wire

The research showed that just over a fifth (21 per cent) of senior leaders among SMEs believe that solving printer problems are one of the biggest wastes of employee time, while 20 per cent say computer crashes are draining productivity.

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Three-quarters of bosses estimate that each of their employees spend one to two hours a week in front of frozen computer screens, while more than two-thirds say a similar number of hours were wasted each week by faulty printers.

But when it comes to taking action, only 21 per cent cited quicker IT support as one of the top three things that would improve productivity. The survey, conducted by YouGov for tech group Brother UK, showed that business leaders were more focused on increasing employee training and recognising and rewarding their performance as the most effective ways of improving how they work.

Phil Jones, managing director of Brother UK, said: “Productivity is a big issue for ambitious SMEs, and it’s great that so many business leaders see investing in employee training and rewards as key to smarter ways of working.

“However, such investment can be worthless if staff can’t rely on the office infrastructure and equipment.”