Microsoft poll finds technology is a problem

Written by Mark Evans

Microsoft has conducted research revealing that “the introduction of new technology on its own, does not guarantee more effective work”.

The result is perhaps no surprise to those with long memories – Robert Solow and others where pointing out the issues in the 1980s onwards, but the widespread, indeed virtually universal, adoption of technology makes it all the more important.

In a poll of 20,476 people working in medium and large companies, from a range of industries in 21 different countries across Europe found that only 11.4 per cent of employees feel ‘highly productive’, which leaves – to the mathematically inclined – 88.6 percent lagging.

There are several potential reasons for the figures, from the time it takes for people to become used to new technology to the over-communication that modern systems allow. In recent years some companies such as Atos have actively attempted to dissuade workers from emailing so much. But the battle between human nature and machines is clearly not being won, with a drip of updates arriving via social media, cat videos, email, text and intranet breaking up the day – often for pointless reasons, copied email or as a form of ‘stream of consciousness’ email writing in instalments.

As Microsoft itself says, there are dangers of "constant connectivity" and the expectation that staff would respond at any hour.

The report attached to the poll suggests that moving to a "digital culture" could boost productivity and employee wellbeing, this culture being formed by the way a company views and uses technology, alongside better training.

Report here.