Web stressed at work? Quit your job

Apparently we Brits get more worked up about dodgy work technology than anyone else in Europe.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

According to a new survey by software group CA, around 60% of UK office workers regularly get ‘frustrated or angry’ because of the failings of their web-based applications – more than any other major European country. Indeed, expectations are now so high that 70% hold it against an employer if its technology is unreliable, and 36% claim they’d actually consider quitting their jobs as a result. Now you might think this is ridiculous at a time when unemployment is rising at a record rate. But when we think back to how we felt the last time our internet crashed, if anything we’re slightly surprised these figures aren’t higher...

CA has been talking to an (admittedly small) sample of 200-odd British workers, as part of a European-wide study on the impact of ‘web stress’ – the frustration caused by slow or unresponsive sites and applications. And it found that Brits get even more wound up about it than our European counterparts – take the happy-go-lucky Italians, for example, only 41% of whom claim to get stressed about it. What’s more, we’re also far more pessimistic about the chances of problems occurring: 77% claimed to be resigned to the prospect, which is also much higher than elsewhere in Europe. Maybe our continental chums have more trust in their IT departments than we do? (though it could be worse - we could be Chinese internet addicts)

The first point to note here is how central internet-based applications have become to so many jobs. Nearly 98% of respondents described them as critical to their daily routine, while 83% reckon they have no choice but to use them even if they’re not working properly, presumably since the only alternative would be to sit around twiddling their thumbs. That’s not great in productivity terms, and it also explains why it’s so frustrating when these applications do fall over without notice.

But it’s also about expectations: over 40% of us will give an application no more than 20 seconds to work before closing it down, while almost half expect any problems to be fixed within the hour. So when this doesn’t happen, it winds us up. And then there’s the lack of control. Since most of us can’t really do anything to solve the problem, other than moan at the IT department, there’s a feeling of powerlessness that further adds to stress levels. So although we don't believe for a minute the 36% who claim they'd quit a job over a dodgy internet connection, we can see where they're coming from....


In today's bulletin:
No more Mr Nice Non-Exec, says Walker
Last Gatwick bidder bites the dust
A tale of two entrepreneurs as Sports Direct profits plunge
Harry Potter and the Half-Paid School Fee
Web stressed at work? Quit your job

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Leadership lessons from Jürgen Klopp

The Liverpool manager exemplifies ‘the long win’, based not on results but on clarity of...

How to get a grip on stress

Once a zebra escapes the lion's jaws, it goes back to grazing peacefully. There's a...

A leadership thought: Treat your colleagues like customers

One minute briefing: Create a platform where others can see their success, says AVEVA CEO...

The ignominious death of Gordon Gekko

Profit at all costs is a defunct philosophy, and purpose a corporate superpower, argues this...

Gender bias is kept alive by those who think it is dead

Research: Greater representation of women does not automatically lead to equal treatment.

What I learned leading a Syrian bank through a civil war

Louai Al Roumani was CFO of Syria's largest private retail bank when the conflict broke...