Lost files, computer viruses, outdated software: Tech malfunctions are nothing new in the workplace, and almost half of working America reports that they seek out coworkers at least once a day for tech assistance. While computer struggles may feel universal, troubleshooting tech issues is far from a shared job. In fact, over one in four Gen Z workers feel they cannot get work done due to being designated the default “tech support” for their colleagues, according to a new study conducted by OSlash.
For the first time in recent history, workplaces host up to five generations of workers, ranging from Silent Generation employees who grew up during World War II to Gen Z employees entering a new, remote workplace for the first time. While multigenerational workplaces offer opportunities for mutual growth, younger workers are increasingly picking up the slack beyond their job descriptions to compensate for technological deficiencies among older people, OSlash’s survey reveals.
“Though we have a lot to thank technology for, many people dread having to teach programs and tools to their co-workers at the office,” reads the new OSlash report. “Yet, improper training and a lack of tools and support put people in a tough spot. Do they focus on their responsibilities or neglect their work to help a co-worker? Either choice might hurt the company and create delays.”
On average, Gen-Zers are spending up to eight hours each week looking for computer files on behalf of coworkers, time that can cost employers $11,136 annually. Beyond that, American workers above the age of 42 delay close to one in four meetings a day due to tech-related issues.
It’s not just complicated software questions that are causing these delays, according to OSlash. Simple tech advancements, such as link sharing, cause the majority of workplace disruptions. Many older colleagues seek out younger coworkers to address their tech issues rather than running their questions through a quick and often resolvable Google search. Because of this, younger employees’ work time is more frequently interrupted.
How did Gen-Zers come to find themselves in this position? According to OSlash, the root of the problem may be found in the 86% of American employees who overexaggerate or lie about their tech skills before being hired. Rather than admit confusion, workers think they can learn on the job.
“One of the issues with this is that many of these technologies aren’t even that new, and younger employees often find themselves helping their coworkers with tasks as simple as drafting an email,” the OSlash study finds.
Younger workers are calling for employers to offer dedicated professional tech support teams and to slow down the rollout of new tech systems introduced into workplaces. Not only could this alleviate Gen-Zers from feeling overburdened by additional and time-consuming responsibilities, but saved time could increase workplace efficiency and cut back annual spending.