Technology creates work and puts people under pressure

Jul 27 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

If technology was supposed to set the modern worker free, create more leisure time and make people more productive, then it has singularly failed, according to new research.

Workers in the UK are under greater pressure and work longer hours than ever because of the increasing complexity of their employer's IT systems, the study commissioned by BT has argued.

The poll of 445 senior managers found seven out of 10 believed staff at their companies were generally under more pressure than three years ago.

More than eight out of 10 (86 per cent) felt their employees also worked longer hours than three years ago.

IT systems producing too much of the "wrong sort" of data was widely blamed for this increase, with 40 per cent of those polled arguing their organisation produced far too much useless or unneeded information.

Gary Bullard, managing director of BT UK Major Customers, said: "Companies have spent a lot of money on IT and communications and continue to be disappointed by the return on their investment."

Compounding this, the typical office worker also gets interrupted every three minutes by a phone call, e-mail, instant message or other distraction - but it takes about eight uninterrupted minutes for the brains to get into a really creative state.

Latest figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have suggested that four out of 10 workers feel they have little control at work and two out of 10 feel they are in very or extremely stressful jobs.

Failing or stubborn IT systems are constantly being cited as one of the biggest stressors for many workers.

A study in April also found that crashing computers helped to waste up to three hours of our working time each day.

The survey of more than 1,000 office workers found computers were overwhelmingly the number one cause of lost productivity, with crashes, printer jams and network problems wasting 48 minutes a day.