According to a survey of 1500 UK office workers, technology is the most irritating aspect of their work life, with 68% of respondents citing a slow IT system as their biggest annoyance at work.
IT issues make up more than half of the top 10 workplace annoyances. The list also includes smelly food, loud conversations, and other all-too-relatable issues. We’ve taken a crack at solving the most common complaints (including the non-tech ones).
We’re not surprised this is the no.1 office frustration. An average UK office worker loses 44 minutes to it downtime every week (that’s 38 hours a year). Which is why we recommend a support plan to all our business clients, so that when things do go wrong, we can get them back up and running at full speed as quickly as possible.
To keep your business running efficiently:
1) Keep your operating systems up to date (and don’t get caught out by malware like the NHS).
2) store large files on an external drive or in the cloud so they don’t take up computer memory.
3) Invest in antivirus software.
Not all printers are created equal, do your research and get the right printer for your office needs. Unless you are regularly churning out attention-grabbing marketing material or presentations that need to be printed, you probably don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing, colour printer. Black and white printers still exist and they’re generally cheaper and faster than their colourful counterparts.
Most of us have subscriptions to a fair few newsletters. (By which I mean, literally hundreds.) And if we’re honest with ourselves, the reason so many of them fill our inbox every week is we’re too busy (lazy) to find the tiny ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of each email. Luckily, services like Unroll.me exist to do this for us. There is a compromise here, the service is free but in exchange, they pass on anonymous numerical data to third parties. That’s a deal with the devil I was prepared to make, but if you want to put your idle thumbs to good work you can unsubscribe from the emails yourself.
It may be that your colleagues are struggling to hear the person they’re speaking to on the phone (probably because everyone else is talking just as loudly as them) which is why they’re raising their voice. If this is the problem, headsets might be the solution. Headsets also have the added benefit of freeing your hands for taking notes.
We all know the risks of passive-aggressive notes at work that spiral out of control, but have you considered a simple ‘Do you really need to print it?’ sticker on your office printers. The average office worker will use 10,000 sheets of paper every year, and almost 70% of these will be wasted. So asking your colleagues to cut down on printing could save the planet as well as your sanity.
If your team have a good excuse for using mobile phones in the office (like, your VOIP system hasn’t been set up yet) then you should agree on some basic mobile etiquette. In a perfect world mobile phones would be off, or on vibrate only, but if your colleagues need to have the sound on you can at least make sure it’s not a ‘hilarious’ clip of their mates drunkenly singing Get Lucky on their 40th birthday (yes, that’s happened).
OK, we’re sometimes guilty of this one, but it really is the solution to a wide range of computer glitches. Our suggestion? Turn it off, wait for 30 seconds, and if it’s still giving you jip when you turn it back on, let your IT team know you’ve tried the obvious solution and need in-depth help.
For a more productive conversation with your IT technician, tell them:
1. what your computer should be doing.
2. what it’s doing instead.
3. how long it has been doing it.
4. what it was doing immediately before it went wrong.
Simple, stop eating at your desk. And stop your colleagues eating at their desks, too. This can be achieved by going out for lunch together. But even if you choose to do lunch solo, getting away from the desk at lunch time helps you move more, eat less, and improves your concentration for the rest of the day.
As much as we’d all like to pretend it’s not so, the main cause of computer malfunctions is human error. If the projector isn’t turning on or your laptop won’t play the slideshow in a meeting, it’s not because technology is trying to spite you. Our top tips are: make sure your presentations are in a format your laptop can read, and double check that you have the cables you need to plug the projector in. If you need a technician to help you with this, book some time with them half an hour before the meeting for a technical rehearsal.
Find new colleagues.