Britain’s SMEs face productivity slump driven by poor internet connectivity 

workplace stress

SMEs could be losing out on two and a half working weeks per year from employees due to unreliable internet connections and technology issues, finds new research

With the UK widely known to be struggling with its productivity levels recently, new research has reveal that poor internet connectivity coupled with technology issues could be contributing to this.

The research of SME employees across the UK, found more than eight in 10 find unreliable internet connections annoying.

Of those that were annoyed by unreliable internet connection, over eight in 10 say their productivity is impacted by it. The telecommunications provider found that the average SME worker could be wasting 72 minutes a day, or equivalent to two and a half working weeks a year because of unreliable internet connection and technology issues.

Unreliable internet connection could also be having an adverse impact on business success. Half of the annoyed workers believe it can lead to unhappy customers, with two-thirds saying it also creates frustrated colleagues.

This forms part of a wider focus on the effect of irritations at work, with more than half of SME employees admitting to being stressed out by them. A quarter also admit to experiencing sleepless nights caused by workplace irritations with just under a quarter overeating as a result. A further 19% have a smoke and 16% turn to alcohol.

Georgina Lord, MD of Zen Retail, who commissioned the research, said: “The UK has long sought ways to improve its productivity, but this research shows it’s a near impossible task if it doesn’t solve its connectivity issue too. Connectivity is a fundamental part of how any business operates from reaching new customers to streamlining their core services and operations.

Businesses need a reliable internet connection that delivers the capabilities they require to do their job and doesn’t leave employees twiddling their thumbs for hours each week.”

Looking for a solution

Of the workers annoyed by unreliable internet connection, many are calling on decision makers at their workplace to take action, with over half believing they should change service providers. SME owners that have not been able to solve their connectivity issues could be facing adverse effects too. More than one in 10SME workers reveal they have left a job because of irritations with either slow or unreliable internet connectivity and/or technology issues, creating a risk for owners of losing good talent.

“Productivity isn’t just impacted by a person’s physical ability to do the job, but their emotional state as well,” Lord continued. “An irritated and technologically-stunted workforce isn’t going to be good for anybody and business leaders in the UK need to give workers tools that are reliable in order to help them get the job done in peace. Without a productive SME community, the UK will continue to struggle to improve its productivity output for years to come.”