Which has better tech: home or office?

Summary:LondonOffices.com has run a survey and reckons that people have better technology at home – PCs and broadband – than they do at work, but the numbers suggest the opposite is true…

Based on my experience, I'd have assumed that most UK-based office workers have better technology at home than in the office. Usually that means newer and faster PCs and faster broadband, as well as better music and better coffee. But does new research by LondonOffices.com, based on a survey of 600 British workers, bear that out?

London offices
London has modern offices, but how modern is their IT? Photo: Jack Schofield

Under the headline Home Has Better Tech Than Office, it quotes one worker as saying: "it has made me spoilt because when I come into work I get so frustrated by how slow the broadband is not to mention how regularly the tired old PCs end up crashing and losing my data. If the company I worked for took as much pride in their technology as the staff do when they go home then things would be a heck of a lot smoother. They really are missing a trick because the productivity would increase as well."

That's a popular sentiment but the survey numbers don't support it. Only 31 percent of these workers said they have faster broadband at home than at work, which means 69 percent must have faster broadband in their offices.

Further, 74 percent, said the PCs they used at work were as good as or better than the ones they had at home. So the idea that office workers are struggling with clapped out PCs running Windows XP but using much speedier and more stable Windows 7 PCs at home can't be right. Or at least, not generally right outside the UK's National Health Service.

Some people think that having superior technology is a good reason for working from home, with the added benefits of escaping from boring meetings, interminable telephone calls, and the time wasted commuting. This can certainly be the case when you have a defined task with an approaching deadline, like getting that 5,000-word paper done by Thursday.

However, the workers surveyed by LondonOffices.com were less keen on the idea. Only 12 percent believed they would be more productive if they worked at home. The other 88 percent thought they would be "distracted by daytime TV and unfettered internet access".

One of the arguments for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategies is that workers can provide up-to-date equipment that businesses haven't the budgets to afford. However, it mainly applies to smartphones and tablets, which can cost as much or even more than corporate desktops. But there doesn't seem much point in BYOPC if most users have even more clapped out laptops at home than they do at work.

What's your experience? Have home PCs and home broadband really fallen behind their office equivalents?

Further reading

Topics: Hardware, Broadband

About

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first webs... Full Bio

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