Influence of computers on work 16:10 on Sunday

I decided to combine two interesting tidbits I read recently about the influence of computers or information technology on work. Just read it and make your own assumptions…

Pertti Järvinen, a professor at the Department of Computer Sciences of University of Tampere explains in Tietokone 10/2003 magazine about the effects caused when computers are introduced to a workplace. ‘We noticed that tasks become dull and the atmosphere gets worse. People were also unwilling to learn things that don’t show immediate benefit.’

The first spread in People Group customer magazine 2003 informs the reader of the following:

Information technology consumes up to 3 hours of work time every week

A study shows that the use of information technology in Finnish workplaces is problematic. The problems caused by information technology threaten the efficiency of the organization and build substantial direct and indirect expenses.

Background observations:
  • IT problems significantly add to the dissatisfaction of employees
  • Non-working information technology interrupts business processes
  • Only half of the study participants have had training for the tasks they perform at work
The main problems are:
  • Helping others with their IT problems (52 minutes a week)
  • Problems with tailored business applications (34 minutes a week)
  • Hardware problems (27 minutes a week)
  • Other IT problems, e.g. security, peripherals, etc. (103 minutes a week)

According to the study, these problems constitute a 3 billion EUR expense for the national economy. It is imperative for the efficiency of the national economy to establish good usability of information technology for both users and businesses.

Usability can be increased for example by sufficient training, by ensuring the functioning of infrastructure and persistent user-centered research and development.


Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Finnish Information Processing Association study, autumn 2003

The emphasis at the end is mine. For comparison to the 3 billion euros mentioned above, Finland’s annual budget is around 36 billion euros.

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