When Kolkata-based graphic designer Arup Chaudhury resigned from his job at an advertising firm in the city last month, he blamed the poor hardware provided by the company as one of the key reasons for quitting. Chaudhury, who was at the firm since 2019, said that the company had “ingrained” in its employees that hardware had to be used till it died, and employees, too, found it pointless to bring it up with management. “As a result, we stewed on the problems until some of us found new jobs and left the company citing this as a major reason,” he said.
Chaudhury is one amongst many Indian professionals who are resigning from their positions citing bad technology as a reason. Indian companies have been quick to adopt remote and hybrid work, their information technology, or IT teams haven’t given up a well-known regressive outlook on what technology they use.
In most firms, devices provided are extremely old, and they struggle to efficiently run even the most common of new software, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. While Chaudhury’s job is closely tied to the device provided, since the quality of a design can be affected by what software one can use and how fast a machine runs, he’s not the only one.
The examples are many. A Mumbai-based ed-tech professional said that she struggles to meet deadlines because the device his office has provided stops responding intermittently. Another media professional, from Bengaluru, said that software used by her firm is old and janky, leading to menial tasks, like updating attendance, taking much longer than they should.
According to most employees, at the end of the day bad technology adds to work stress, and given that most are sitting at home and don’t have colleagues to interact with, it eventually leads them to quit. As Pune-based research consultant Rashmi Krishnan asserted, “While working from home, it was a frustration every other day to work on slow or outdated devices that do not support the latest operating systems and other software. Moreover, a lack of communication with the IT department (there were very few staff available), took a toll on productivity and increased stress.”
Vicky Jain, founder and chief executive officer at Mumbai-based uKnowva, a cloud platform that automates HR tasks, pointed out that a lot of firms still use duplicative software — two tools that perform the same tasks — leading to bad and confusing experiences for employees.
Last month, a study by software-as-a-service (SAAS) firm, Freshworks, found that employees were reporting widespread failures from workplace technology being used every day. Over half of the surveyed employees complained of slow speeds, while 34% cited extended response times from IT teams. Lack of collaboration between departments and lack of automation were other problems being cited. In addition, Freshworks’ report noted that over two thirds of managers felt that employees were not given sufficient time to learn how to use new software and their benefits.
While Freshworks’ study highlighted problems employees have been facing, another report by US-based security firm Ivanti from last month, stated that nearly half of the employees it surveyed were frustrated by tech and tools their organisations provided, and 26% were considering quitting over the same. It also noted that 42% had spent their own money to acquire better technology for work.
Sachin Alug, CEO, of staffing company Noida-based NLB Services, said that close to 50% of candidates the firm interviews have not hesitated from quoting poor technology at work as a hindrance to their growth or optimal productivity. He added that when organisations are betting as much on employee experience as they do with customer experience, inferior technology within teams can be a major deal-breaker.
Other than the fact that employees find it more difficult to collaborate, outdated devices and software can also lead to security risks for firms. Vishak Raman, VP India, SAARC, and SEA, at security solutions provider Fortinet, stressed that firms must use technologies such as software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) that uses a centralised control function to securely and intelligently direct traffic across the company’s network and to its service providers.
“We have seen a trend in our happiness index meter and daily login report, our clients have mentioned that earlier only 10% employees used to login as they didn’t find the payroll software user friendly. With a new cloud-based login system, over 60% of employees are logging in into the system and their happiness index meter saw an improvement too – a proof that better tech can help drive employee engagement and satisfaction,” said uKnowva’s Jain