How Poor IT can Affect Your Employees (and Your Business)

Read time 6 mins

Poor IT performance can often result in poor business performance. After all, IT services such as end user compute, cloud computing and cyber security are vital components of almost every conceivable type of organisation. 

It’s true, the world of business is a tech-dominated landscape; so much so that, when your IT isn’t working effectively, it’s highly likely that neither are your employees. This is because people and technology are  foundational pillars of most organisations. They are the vital contributors that keep our businesses functioning. 

Indeed, it is for this reason that it’s so interesting to consider just how IT – and particularly, poor IT – can impact its end users.  

Work related stress, anxiety, and depression 

According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2020/21 there were an estimated 822,000 workers affected by work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. This represents 2,480 per 100,000 workers. Furthermore, across 2020/21 work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health, with the public administration industry reporting higher than average rates across the board.

It’s interesting to note that – whilst we cannot underestimate the contributing effects of the Coronavirus pandemic during this time – the HSE does report that ‘in the recent years prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety had shown signs of increasing [already].’

In other words, even pre-COVID, work-related stress, depression, and anxiety were on the rise, phenomena defined by the Labour Force Survey as ‘a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work.’

Of course, not all undue workplace pressure can be assigned to ineffective IT, but, given the role and scope of IT in our working lives (and considering how much we depend upon technology to perform our job functions) it’s fair to say that the ill-effects of poor IT could certainly be a contributing factor.

As an example, workflow and content automation firm, Nintex, recently surveyed one-thousand full-time employees across various industries and departments and found that information technology woes were the largest contributing factor in employees looking for new jobs. In fact, 58% of those queried reported that broken IT practices played a ‘significant role’ in their decision to seek new employment.

Below, we consider the ways ineffective and poor IT practices can negatively affect your employees, their mental health, and, consequently, your business output:

IT downtime 

Good IT will run pretty much ‘invisibly’ in the background, a mere afterthought in each workers’ day. However, it goes without saying that poor IT, and particularly IT which experiences downtime, can take a huge toll on the productivity and overall output of your organisation. 

For most organisations, there are four leading causes of outages and network downtime:

  • Hardware failure
  • Human error
  • Software failure
  • Natural disasters

Naturally, most outages happen without warning (which is why having a reliable IT environment and appropriate backup and disaster recovery planning in place is paramount). Remember, a single IT outage can have disastrous business impact, including lost revenue, breaches of compliance, decreased customer satisfaction, long-lasting reputational damage, and even business closure. 

IT downtime effectively slows productivity to a halt, putting undue pressure on unsuspecting end users who have their own deadlines to meet and work projects to complete. Note that the longer it takes for your IT team to fix issues, the greater the cost to your business in terms of output, profit, and employee stress. This is precisely why partnering with an IT provider that prioritises your organisation’s success and end users’ digital experience is vital.

User experience

Perception is everything when it comes to IT services, and if your IT team or external provider cannot adequately measure and manage the end-user experience, this can lead to a loss in user-confidence and diminishment of service uptake. This is especially true when new technologies are deployed, which occurs much more frequently in the modern workplace. 

Of course, tying your employees’ hands when it comes to their IT needs quickly leads to dissatisfaction, frustration, and stress, and it’s likely that organisations with these type of IT challenges will see higher absences than average due to end users’  mental health stresses.

As well as increased stress levels for users, poor IT can also undermine your workplace culture, gradually eating away at your employees’ morale and inspiration as complaints mount and fundamental IT tools aren’t readily available and functioning optimally. 

This kind of demotivation can lead to high staff attrition and increased, constant recruitment costs. It can also make it difficult to attract the best talent, as ex-employees are likely to leave comments on company review sites and social media. 

Remote working 

Obviously, remote working relies heavily on technology and requires additional cyber security measures in place to run safely. However, if remote working IT tools are not easily accessible and the IT service desk is sluggish to respond to any issues whilst users are working away from the workplace, this can spell bad news for the organisation’s overall output and information security. 

In the modern workplace, via digital workspaces, communication applications, and other cloud-based collaborative tools, most employees expect their working experience to be the same no matter where they choose to work from, or which device they work with. It’s vital that users can communicate as effectively when working remotely, as they could when office based. Remember, being able to access collaboration and social tools quickly and easily is as much a cultural and mental health necessity as it is a productivity and output one.

Security breaches

Aside from affecting employee productivity, poor IT puts organisations at high risk of security and data protection breaches. Indeed, without effective and proactive threat-monitoring activities, you’re all but welcoming cyber criminals into your business and putting the personal and/or sensitive data your organisation holds at risk of theft.

Of course, as well as the legislative responsibility organisations carry when it comes to data protection, a security breach could also cause great financial and personal stress to those affected.

In order to mitigate this risk, it’s vital that organisation partner with a strong IT and cyber security services provider who will take a collaborative and agile approach to security and help prevent, detect, and respond to attacks in time. Although there is never a guarantee that this will ensure your organisation is immune to cyber threats, it will greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim. 

In order to be effective, your cyber security partner might offer: 

  • Clear ownership and responsibility 
  • A ‘one team’ approach to incident response
  • Reduction in frequency, duration and therefore impact of security incidents
  • Improved preparedness for common cyber threats

Slow resolution speeds

IT support is an important component in your organisation’s overall IT provision and if users are reporting slow resolution speeds from your IT service desk, then it’s time to ask questions. Slow resolutions speeds to everyday IT issues can damage your organisation’s reputation, leaving employees and customers dissatisfied with your service and causing employees to skip processes or miss deadlines which, naturally, leaves them vulnerable to undue stress. 

Poor performance by your organisation’s IT support mechanism can quickly lead to high staff attrition and declining mental health. After all, we all know how frustrating it is not to be able to resolve simple issues promptly.

If you would like to discuss how Littlefish’s award-winning and user-centric IT services can help you reduce costs, increase service quality, and support your end users’ experience, feel free to contact us through our get in touch button.

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