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Friday, 10 May 2013 17:04

Office workers waste two weeks a year on paper jams

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Forget catching up with office gossip, unnecessary meetings or lost commuter time – nine out of 10 office workers report wasting time at work due to age-old office problems like paper jams, printer and photocopier issues. 

The 'Dick Smith Productivity Study' today revealed the white collar worker spends more than two working weeks each year grappling with technical issues and one fifth (22%) have spent a whole day trying to solve the problem. Around a third (30%) have had to re-do documents after computers have crashed, and almost one in five have been late for a meeting because of printer issues.

And it would appear that female office workers are much more likely to get stuck with the problem of tricky paper jams than their male counterparts.

It’s not just wasted time; problematic office equipment is causing more stress in the workplace. One in four have felt like smashing a computer or laptop screen when issues strike, and 7% (or one in ten) have cried due to lost documents or computer crashes.

The problem is only exacerbated by old technology. Over two thirds (77%) of Australian organisations still use a fax machine and even more worrying – this equipment is more than two years old.

Greg Hirsch, Dick Smith’s Office Merchandise Manager stressed that technology such as laptops, printers and hard drives should be updated at least every two years.

“People are placing more and more demands on technology. For example, we’re more likely to use tablets for work and personal use which means we’re outgrowing our devices at a faster rate than we’re replacing it," he said.

“There is also a lack of understanding on how best use technological devices. For example, many people put pressure on their hardware to store data, when a more efficient ‘cloud’ storage system will get better results and prevent computer crashes and delays."

The solution is simple. An overwhelming number of office workers (88%) believe investing in new technology will save their time and ultimately, increase productivity in the workplace. Unfortunately, employers are less likely to take action with half (52%) claiming their boss is too stingy to invest in new equipment and four in ten believing their organisation will delay upgrading the technology if it still works.

Taxation expert and author Adrian Raftery believes employers could take advantage of the small business tax concessions by investing in new technology as a way of reducing office down-time.

“With 30 June just around the corner, small businesses can get the ATO to subsidise these improvements by buying new equipment up to $6,500 and get an immediate tax write-off for the full amount this year,” says Raftery, principal of Mr Taxman.

Raftery suggests small business owners could re-fit their office with new, functioning equipment by writing off new business assets rather than depreciating them over several years under the old tax rules.

“The ($6,500) concession is new to small businesses this year and includes computers, monitors, security systems and printers. There is no limit to the number of assets that can be purchased,” he said.

It seems more education is required in order to kick employers into action. Two thirds of small business owners are at risk of missing out on tax concessions because they’re unaware of what they can legitimately claim. More than half (55%) admit they don’t know the details of possible rebates or prefer to leave everything to their accountant.


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