Productivity: Internet connection issues biggest obstacle for SMEs

Internet connectivity issues are the biggest obstacle to productivity for small- and medium-sized businesses, according to a report looking at the problems they most commonly face.

67 per cent of SMEs in Storey’s survey said internet issues were the most problematic – 38 per cent had experienced failures in the last month and 46 per cent had slow connections.

28 per cent even said their businesses had lost connectivity at some point in the last week, with 40 per cent experiencing slowdowns over the same period.

These issues have knock-on effects, with 37 per cent of firms believing they are missing out on talent as a result and 34 per cent feeling embarrassed when clients visit their offices.

76 per cent of businesses said productivity is a top priority for them, with 69 per cent believing that that factors like office layout and design can help to improve it.

But 52 per cent of SME leaders spend between 11 and 40 hours administering their offices, while 21 per cent spend more than 20 hours each month attempting fix issues like failing technology or problems with their workplaces themselves.

“SMEs in particular, with their limited resources, face a number of challenges that could hamper their productivity – and, ultimately, their success,” said Joff Sharpe, head of operations at British Land, which is 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.”

Workfront and Clare Evans, author of Time Management for Dummies, recently gave SME Magazine their top tips for improving productivity in the workplace.

These include cutting down on time wasted sitting in unproductive meetings and replying to unnecessary emails, as well as removing potential distractions from the office.

They also suggested that SMEs could help employees achieve more by establishing clear boundaries between work time and personal time so they know what is expected of them.

Photo © tlsmith1000 (CC BY-SA 2.0). Cropped.