Frustrated workers develop smashing new computer skills

Research points to an outbreak of technology-based violence as desperate workers wreck their computers - to try and get one that actually works...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 12 Apr 2011
We all know computers can be frustrating at the best of times – but in MT towers, at least, actual Office Space-style scenarios involving technology and baseball bats are relatively rare. According to a new survey, though, it’s becoming increasingly common: figures by online backup company Mozy have found that so frustrated are UK employees with their ancient, creaking computers, that 13% of them have resorted to physically damaging them in the hope of getting a new one. Blimey.

As with most things these days, this upsurge in technology-related violence stems from the recession. According to the survey, which spoke to 3,000 employees across Europe, companies are getting slower at replacing their IT systems. Whereas once upon a time, businesses tended to buy new machines about once every three years, the average age of a work computer in the UK is now a positively geriatric five years and two months (that's twice as old as Germany’s decidedly sprightlier PCs). As a result, 40% of employees said their ‘work efficiency is compromised’ by crashing computers on a regular basis (when MT’s computer crashes, its first thought is always ‘gah! My work efficiency has been compromised!’. Or words to that effect, anyway).

It’s not exactly surprising that companies have pushed renewing technology down their priority lists in the quest to save themselves a bit of capex. But Mozy points out that when computers do finally croak, the resulting data loss can be pretty damaging to a company (not to mention quite distracting, if someone’s smashing up their PC in the corner when everyone else is trying to work). That (conveniently) brings the (online data backup) company neatly round to the assertion that it might be a good idea if companies back up their data online.

Alternatively, another solution might be to introduce a policy letting employees know exactly how displeased you'll be if they take a baseball bat, crowbar, sledgehammer or other weapon to their PC. Up to you, really.

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