In the movie Office Space, one of the funniest scenes involves the abduction of a stubborn office printer which is promptly smashed to pieces in a cathartic orgy of unleashed rage. The reason it's so hilarious is because the scenario is entirely relatable — anyone who has ever worked in an office has wanted to do the exact same thing from time to time.
Photo: 20th Century Fox
Now, an Australian study commissioned by electronics' retailer Dick Smith has fixed some hard numbers to this common irritation: apparently, the average office worker spends a whopping two weeks of the year wrestling with paper jams. (That's a lot of PC Load Letters.)
The Dick Smith Productivity Study surveyed 503 office workers and small business owners in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth about the amount of time wasted due to technical glitches and malfunctioning office equipment.
White collar workers 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.
The study also makes the claim that female office workers are much more likely to get stuck with the problem of tricky paper jams than their male counterparts (we're not touching that one with a barge pole). Seven per cent of participants also admitted to crying due to lost documents or computer crashes, while one in four have felt like smashing a computer or laptop screen.
The report concludes that the best solution to this problem is to replace old equipment with a fleet of new technology that is more up to the task (preferably from Dick Smith, natch).
“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,” states the report's author Adrian Raftery. “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."
What's the most amount of time you've wasted at work due to shoddy software or hardware? Have you ever broken a piece of equipment out of frustration (either accidentally or intentionally)? Share your stories in the comments section below.