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Time wasted reading unnecessary emails you have been cc’d on has been identified by UK office workers as the single biggest disruption to workplace efficiency, according to new research from global printing solutions company Epson.

Everyday email-drain leads a number of workplace inefficiencies that UK employees believe are, collectively, causing a 20 percent loss in their total productivity.


The survey of over 1,000 UK workers found that existing workplace technology and its use are hitting daily productivity levels hard. More than half of respondents (53 percent) identified unnecessary emails as the most frequent disruption, followed by restrictions on being able to upgrade technology equipment (35 percent) and distractions caused by technology in meetings (27 percent).


“Individual employees are feeling a dual-hit of cultural and technology bad practice. And it’s often death by a thousand cuts: seemingly small things like the in-house printer not printing to a high enough quality, for example, is a frequent inefficiency for over a quarter of the workforce,”says Mark Reynolds, Business Director, Epson UK.

“The top-line twenty percent loss in productivity, meanwhile, effectively means you could have one extra person in every five to complete the same workload. Imagine what this could mean for the competitiveness of your organisation and the health of the UK’s business landscape.”


The implementation of new technology was recognised as a possible solution to improving productivity, yet there are still barriers to overcome. Three quarters (74 percent) of UK employees currently believe new technology acts as a greater productivity drain than generator when initially implemented. In fact, 11 percent believe it takes a year or longer for new tech to start enabling more productive ways of working.


“It’s almost pointless to invest in the latest and greatest technology, only to fall at the next hurdle; rolling-it out internally. To reach a situation where employees see new technology as a burden, rather than benefit, highlights the need for greater consideration when turning a new investment into a new resource that people can actually use,” continues Reynolds.


“This has long-since moved on from a concern limited to the IT department; technology today directly impacts every employee and should be on the agenda of the entire senior leadership team within an organisation, regardless of size or sector.”

The main barriers, identified by employees, prohibiting technology from benefiting the workplace include:

o   Poor training on how to use new technologies (37 percent)

o   Dealing with product downtime due to maintenance or consumables issues (23 percent)

o   The technology implemented is not suitable for the role or requirement (23 percent)

In addition, 71 percent of employees believe their organisation slips behind implementing the latest technology because of the cost of previous investment, and over half (53 percent) would rather see what their competitors do before implementing new technology.

The research was conducted online by FTI Consulting’s strategy, consulting and research team from 10 – 17 September 2014, with white collar workers in offices on location in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, in their local languages.