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Internet issues are biggest blocker of productivity for 67% of UK SMEs

Sixty-seven percent of UK SMEs regard internet issues as their biggest barrier to productivity, according to research from Storey, the new flexible workspace brand from property company British Land.

The research, which delves into the issues affecting productivity in the workplace, is based on a survey of 500 UK SME decision-makers. While 76% of SMEs considered productivity a priority when setting up their office environment, 69% also think that improving the design and layout of their office would significantly improve output.

As many as 52% of SME managers and leaders are spending between 11 and 40 hours a month on workplace related admin, with 21% spending more than 20 hours a month on fixing office issues such as IT and technology failure, addressing facilities problems and looking for new office space.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • 38% of UK SME managers and leaders have had to deal with the internet going down in the last month and 46% have had to deal with slow internet in the same period.
  • 28% have had to deal with the internet going down in the last week and 40% said that they had dealt with slow internet in the same period.
  • 37% believe they are losing out on talent due to the state of their workplace.
  • 34% say they feel embarrassed when clients come to their workplaces.
  • 40% claim that having a communal breakout area would help improve productivity.

“SMEs in particular, with their limited resources, face a number of challenges that could hamper their productivity – and, ultimately, their success” says Joff Sharpe, Head of Operations at British Land responsible for Storey. “Many of these relate to managing, maintaining and looking for office space, distracting them from their core jobs of running their business. Our research highlights the extent of this problem.”

The report also asked these decision-makers to share their thoughts on what the office of the future might look like, finding that:

  • Some 50% believe that, in ten years’ time, there will be no desktop computers in use.
  • Almost a third (29%) think the same of phones.
  • And another third (32%) believe that receptionists will be obsolete.

“The research suggests that the future workplace needs to be reoriented around productivity and profitability”, comments Sharpe. “SME business leaders are fiddling around with the internet or wasting time on administrative issues, the business simply won’t perform as well as it could.

“At Storey, we believe that ambitious SMEs should be free to focus on what they do best – driving successful businesses. Internal resources are valuable – they need to be used where it counts.”

To read the findings of the research in full, download the report for free: www.storey.co.uk/our-thinking