Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Old tech costs retail workers 19 minutes a day. Guess what finance workers lose.

Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
June 8, 2023

Current technology is essential in the modern workplace, but it’s not always available at every job. Many employers continue to use antiquated software and equipment, and outdated tech causes employees to lose time and productivity. Even if workers request necessary upgrades, they aren’t always approved. And in some cases, employees pay out of pocket for them. These are negatives for any organization, regardless of industry.

To shed more light on these issues, online invoicing company Skynova surveyed workers about the effects of outdated workplace technology. Employees shared their concerns and how each affected their daily performance. Some figures may surprise you. Let’s take a look at the data that brings greater awareness to this problem.

How obsolete technology affects employees

Just like an auto mechanic needs the right tools, today’s workers need advanced technology to do their best work and get the job done. To get to the root of the issue, Skynova asked more than 1,000 American employees to share information about their workplaces and experiences. They found the average age of common office equipment was the following:

  • Fax machine: 9.6 years
  • Telephone: 8.9 years
  • Invoicing system: 8.6 years
  • Copier: 8.4 years
  • Printer: 8.1 years

Retail, government, and healthcare workplaces led the way in antiquated hardware. And even when employees requested upgrades, only 33% got what they needed. But workers don’t want new equipment just for the sake of it. Across various industries, employees lose significant time dealing with old technology; the average daily minutes lost by industry were:

  • Finance: 23.7
  • Healthcare: 23.0
  • Government: 19.4
  • Retail: 19.4
  • Hospitality/Food & Beverage: 18.2

On average, workers across all industries lost over 18 minutes per day. That’s significant downtime, representing lost money and output.

Outmoded tech’s effects on different generations

Many generations comprise today’s workforce. From Gen Zers to millennials, each group has unique perspectives and experiences. And that’s apparent when it comes to obsolete technology in the workplace. The study revealed that millennials lost the most time each day dealing with outdated tech. However, Gen Zers were the ones who spent the most money on updating in-office tech, while Gen Xers shelled out the most for work-from-home technology.

Remote workers and technology expenses

Working from home has its upsides, like freedom, flexibility, and solitude. But in many cases, remote workers have to purchase essential technology and equipment themselves. And that’s no small expense, with Skynova’s research showing an average cost of $549. If you plan to work remotely, you’ll likely have to spend money on these most common out-of-pocket items:

  • Mouse
  • Computer
  • Keyboard
  • Printer
  • Upgraded internet

Technology like that is a given in a typical workplace. Requiring work-from-home employees to cover the costs may appear unfair or affect morale. Beyond that, remote workers have unique requirements for an ideal setup, helping them stay comfortable and up-to-date. These were the most sought-after pieces of equipment among remote workers surveyed:

  • Desk chair
  • Headphones
  • Dual monitor setup
  • Back support pillow
  • Standing desk

Modern technology enhances workplace productivity

For optimal performance, employees need the latest technology. From new computers to updated software, state-of-the-art tech saves time and money. But when workers have to use old equipment, they—and their employer—can’t achieve first-rate results and may experience frustration at work daily.

Antiquated technology might get the job done, but at what cost? Workers buying equipment may provide a stop-gap, but in the long run, employers regularly updating tech is a better solution for businesses and employees to excel.

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