Productivity gap – 1 in 3 companies stuck in past when it comes to tech

News, Work
business cards
Using business cards is just one indicator of a company being behind when it comes to technology
  • Using a hole punch, relying on Post-It Notes for reminders and keeping physical records of paperwork all signs a company is behind the times in terms of technology
  • Four out of five workers admit they wouldn’t be able to do their job without a fast internet connection
  • One in three believes that their business relies on social media to operate successfully

Using instant coffee instead of having a coffee machine, needing a physical holiday wallchart, and still using business cards are all signifiers that a business is stuck in the tech past, according to new research by Virgin Media O2.

While almost a third (31%) of British companies are in need of modernisation, the issue is particularly acute in London, where nearly half (48%) of those surveyed felt their business was behind the times.    

The study, exploring how important modern technology is for Britain’s businesses, found that not using social media effectively, relying on landline phones only and a lack of dedicated videoconferencing facilities all featured prominently among the issues Brits have with their businesses.

Still using a hole punch, having a manual filing system, and needing to submit physical holiday requests all rank highly on the list too. Four per cent of people even said they are still on a dial-up internet connection!

The study was commissioned by Virgin Media O2, the UK’s fastest major business broadband provider, to celebrate the launch of its hyperfast Voom Gig1 broadband for small businesses – the fastest widely available business broadband in the UK. Small businesses can now benefit from more flexibility, with a greater choice of download speeds to suit any requirements, from offering guest WiFi at their premises to live streaming on social media.

Rather than just being a minor inconvenience, the study of 2,000 adults, conducted via OnePoll, showed that over two-thirds (71%) of Brits have considered looking for a new job because of their business’ behind-the-times attitude to technology.

More than half (59%) of those surveyed believe their business only survived the tribulations of the past two years thanks to the opportunities provided by fast, reliable internet, while over two-thirds (71%) feel that having a lacklustre internet connection would prevent their business growing to its full potential. This sentiment is especially prevalent in the nation’s capital, with four out of five Londoners (79%) in agreement. 

The research revealed that greater efficiency (45%), future-proofing the business (34%) and optimising customer service (34%) were all important reasons for British businesses to have a fast, reliable internet connection, with 82% claiming that quick, dependable internet is the single most important tool available to any business operating today.

Over a fifth (21%) say their business has modernised to keep up with competitors, with more than a quarter (26%) claiming they have brought their tech up to speed to avoid being left behind. Increased security (31%), a higher level of employee satisfaction (29%) and improved reliability (26%) are all important considerations behind a business looking to improve its tech, although almost a third of those spoken to (32%) admitted to struggling to get to grips with new technology when it’s introduced.

The study found that a regularly updated company website (47%), videoconferencing facilities (47%) and employees having the freedom offered by working from laptops instead of desktops (38%) are the most popular facets of modern business that British companies have embraced.

Social media is also boosting UK start-ups, the study found. With over a third (37%) of Brits believing that their business relies on social media to operate successfully, one in five people (21%) have actually considered launching their own side hustle on social media.

Selling home-made craft items (43%), making home-baked goods available for purchase (41%), and re-selling old or vintage clothing (36%) are the most-frequently considered options for those looking to start their own enterprise.

Says Gregg Pearce, Director of SOHO (Small Office/Home Office), at Virgin Media O2:

“Whether it’s legacy laptops or slow broadband, our research shows too many UK businesses are being held back by outdated tech. That’s why we’re so excited to bring Voom Gig1 – the UK’s fastest widely available business broadband – to small businesses across the nation.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and now, more than ever, they can’t afford to slow down. We know from speaking to our customers that without a fast, reliable internet connection, they can’t do their jobs; whether they’re dog walkers or coffee shop owners, accountants or influencers. With Voom Gig1, we’re bringing the UK’s small businesses up to speed.”


  1. Has a hole punch (23%)
  2. Instant coffee instead of a coffee machine (21%)
  3. Uses Post-It Note reminders (17%)
  4. Tends to print everything out (15%)
  5. Keeps physical records for all paperwork (14%)
  6. Has a manual filing system (14%)
  7. Laptop/desktop computer is old and slow (13%)
  8. Still uses business cards (13%)
  9. Use of a holiday wall chart (12%)
  10. Staples receipts together (11%)

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Chris Price
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