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How poor IT can affect your employees (and your business)

Richard Hutchings, chief technology officer at managed service provider Littlefish has some advice on how to lower stress and make life easier

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.

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.

Let’s consider the ways ineffective and poor IT practices can negatively affect your employees:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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