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UK Companies Failing to Meet Employee Laptop Expectations or Measure Laptop ROI

Press release   •   Feb 02, 2010 11:34 GMT

Research released today by Sony UK finds that laptops are becoming an ever more critical part of people’s working lives. 61% of employees consider their laptop to be as important to them as their mobile phone, and almost one third of employees are spending more than 7 hours per day on them at work.

The desire for laptops in the workplace is getting so large amongst UK businesses that employees now consider purchasing their own so they can have the hardware they both want and need. The research found that 45% of employees would like more choice over their work laptop and that 39% of employees have considered buying their own laptop for work. This tends to be driven by the ‘Generation Y’ workforce with 59% of people under 35 considering this option and 11% of them actually doing so.

Much of this desire comes from a perceived value of laptop hardware. More than half of employees (62%) and nearly three quarters of employers (70%) alike consider laptops to be typically of a high quality. This desire for high quality hardware comes in part from employees feeling entitled to use their business laptops for activities outside working hours. The research went on to find that 40% of employers admit they have little control over what employees use their laptops for outside of work.

In addition, there is a clear disconnect between what employees want from their work laptops and what employers are prepared to provide. 45% of employees rated weight and portability as one of their top three considerations for laptops, but this registered with only 14% of employers. Likewise, 40% of employees put screen size in their top three considerations, compared to only 6% of employers.

When asked outright to rate the importance of personal choice for employees when selecting their work laptop, none of the employer respondents indicated this as a top 3 consideration. For employers, price (70%), build (51%) and performance (42%) are the top laptop priorities.

Chris Hirst, VAIO Business Category Marketing Manager, Sony UK, comments on the research, “We have long known the advantages of laptops in the workplace but the extent to which this research reveals how much emphasis employees place on laptops for work is quite astounding. Employees’ expectations of the hardware that they use for work are rising, but employers aren’t purchasing laptops to meet the full diversity of employees’ needs.”

Despite the demand for laptop hardware, and the importance placed on it by businesses, the research showed that more than half of employers (57%) do not measure the lifetime value of laptops. This has led many to spend large amounts of money in repairing failed hardware with 71% of employers saying they would repair a laptop with a serious technical problem rather than replace it. It is these results that have driven 51% of employers surveyed in this research to ask for a better way to evaluate laptop ROI.

“Return on investment should be front of mind for any business making an investment in IT hardware. Central to this ROI should be establishing what the total cost of ownership is for an organisation’s laptops,” said Hirst. “Buying cheap hardware and then repairing it outside a non-comprehensive or short warranty can be an expensive exercise over the lifespan of a computer. Companies also need to consider employee productivity and downtime when purchasing hardware; a laptop should run for years, not months.”

Chris Hirst summarises: “Employees are essentially looking for input into the choice of hardware that they are required to use for so many hours per week for work, yet employees and employers don’t quite see eye to eye on what they want from a laptop. In addition, the age-old issue of total cost of ownership appears to be widely unmeasured where laptop purchases are concerned, often overlooking employee productivity and motivation.”

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