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IT equals stress

60 percent of office workers experience technology-related tension. Is that all?

If your office is anything like ours, a year or so ago you might remember a little MPEG video that was doing the rounds. It featured a frustrated computer user smashing his offending PC to bits with its keyboard. While the veracity of this footage was open to question — if you look closely the computer isn’t even plugged in — many of us could sympathise with the sentiment it expressed.

IT stress in the workplace is a common problem, as a survey carried out by BMRB International on behalf of Mercury Interactive Corporation, illustrates. It found 60 percent of UK employees are stressed by IT office problems, and 62 percent think these technology problems affect their productivity.

This is a serious problem from both staff and bosses as 71 percent of employees rely on computer equipment for more than three-quarters of their working day.

Despite the efforts of both hardware and software manufacturers to make their products easy to use and crash-proof, nearly a quarter of those interviewed said they had at least one IT-related problem a week. Almost three-quarters of those surveyed said they felt that their company’s efficiency was compromised due to difficulties with IT equipment.

Of course the basis of this survey is a thinly-veiled attempt by Mercury to push its services, as it specialises in automated diagnosis problems, designed to help IT support staff to identify problems before they are reported by the user.

But the points it raises are important, as companies stand to lose money if they don’t reduce staff stress levels by improving their IT infrastructure and support. If they fail to act they might just find employees acting out the computer-bashing scenario for real.

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