Internet issues are biggest blocker of productivity for UK SMEs

sme productivity

New research shows that 67 per cent of UK SMEs regard internet issues as their biggest barrier to productivity.

The research, which delves into the issues affecting productivity in the workplace, is based on a survey of UK SME decision-makers. While 76 per cent of SMEs considered productivity a priority when setting up their office environment, 69 per cent also think that improving the design and layout of their office would significantly improve output.

As many as 52 per cent of SME managers and leaders are spending between 11 and 40 hours a month on workplace related admin, with 21 per cent spending more than 20 hours a month on fixing office issues such as IT and technology failure, addressing facilities problems and looking for new office space.

Furthermore, 38 per cent of UK SME managers and leaders have had to deal with the internet going down in the last month and 46 per cent have had to deal with slow internet in the same period.

Steering away from technology limiting productivity levels, nearly 40 per cent of managers believe they are losing out on talent due to the state of their workplace, while 34 per cent say they feel embarrassed when clients come to their workplaces. Some 40 per cent claim that having a communal breakout area would help improve productivity.

“SMEs in particular, with their limited resources, face a number of challenges that could hamper their productivity – and, ultimately, their success” says Joff Sharpe, Head of Operations at British Land responsible for Storey. “Many of these relate to managing, maintaining and looking for office space, distracting them from their core jobs of running their business. Our research highlights the extent of this problem.”

The report also asked these decision-makers to share their thoughts on what the office of the future might look like, finding that: half believe that, in ten years’ time, there will be no desktop computers in use, almost a third think the same of phones and another third believe that receptionists will be obsolete.

“The research suggests that the future workplace needs to be reoriented around productivity and profitability”, comments Sharpe. “SME business leaders are fiddling around with the internet or wasting time on administrative issues, the business simply won’t perform as well as it could.

“At Storey, we believe that ambitious SMEs should be free to focus on what they do best – driving successful businesses. Internal resources are valuable – they need to be used where it counts.”