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Old Workplace Technology: The Hidden Cost of Outdated Tools

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Old Workplace Technology: The Hidden Cost of Outdated Tools

Read Time: 5 minutes Updated at: October 27, 2023

Tech innovation is all about making our lives (and jobs) easier. But, progress sometimes gives rise to new problems, particularly in the workplace. Outdated legacy systems, under-utilized tools, and old technology all have the power to drain productivity and impact your bottom line.

In fact, an Electric study found that every year, tech issues cost employers $4,072 per employee in lost time. Read on for a breakdown of the leading cost burdens, and which tools to eliminate from your workplace, if you haven’t already.

The Hidden Cost of Old Technology

According to the study, antiquated software and technology issues are leading causes of business downtime and employee frustration:

  • Workers spend an average of almost 3 hours a week dealing with tech issues.
  • Remote workers (73%) waste more time due to tech issues than on-site (22%) and hybrid workers (41%).
  • 55% of workers say their company’s tech is antiquated.
  • The most commonly reported workplace tech problem is a frozen computer, with data loss and connectivity issues also topping the list.

20 Old Technology Examples: How Many Have You Used?

Tech innovation has come a long way. Many past technological breakthroughs are now consigned to the history books, while other tools and gadgets still make an occasional appearance around the office. If you can still spot one or two of these old pieces of tech in your workplace, it’s time for a digital overhaul.

1. Typewriters

The original word processor, typewriters came to the fore in the late 1800s and continued to be widely used up until the 1970s for everyday business communications.

2. Transistor Radio

The invention of the transistor in the 1940s forever changed the way people consume news and listen to music, making radios hand-held and portable for the first time.

3. Rotary Telephones

The rotary telephone first came to U.S. homes in the 1950s, eliminating the need for switchboard operators and signaling the end of the public telephone booth.

4. Polaroid Cameras

Introducing almost-instant photography in the 1960s, polaroid cameras were a leap forward from slow-developing, film-based alternatives.

5. Handheld Calculators

The pocket-sized calculator didn’t come into commercial use until the 1970s. Previous models of “electronic desktop calculators” could weigh up to 30lbs.

6. Pagers and Beepers

The ultimate 80s accessory, pagers and beepers were a one-way communication system that could – for the first time – reach people while they were away from a landline phone.

7. Answering Machines

For those without pagers and beepers, answering machines gained commercial popularity in the 80s as a way to leave a message when calls went unanswered.

8. Floppy Disks

The arrival of the floppy disk was a turning point in how many businesses viewed data – although with an average storage capacity of 1.4 megabytes, it had its shortcomings.

9. Compact Discs

Next up, the compact disc. CDs may have been more commonly associated with music, but they also played a significant role in other forms of data storage and software installation.

10. Cassette Tapes

Speaking of music, the precursor to the compact disc will inspire fond but frustrating memories of poor audio quality and uncontrollable loops of tape.

11. Walkman

With cassette tapes, came the Walkman. Clunky by today’s standards, this device was a groundbreaking invention that brought portable music to the masses.

12. MP3 Players

MP3 players and the arrival of the iPod made CDs obsolete, almost overnight. However, like many other items on this list, MP3 players would themselves go on to be replaced by the smartphone.

13. VHS and VCRs

Much like the cassette tape, VHS (short for Video Home System) took coils of magnetic tape and turned them into home entertainment – this time in a visual format.

14. DVDs

The “Digital Video Disc” replaced VHS in the late 90s, offering a more compact, higher quality viewing experience.

15. Personal Digital Assistants

Also arriving on the scene in the 1990s, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) or “handheld PCs” were a business-focused precursor to the modern smartphone.

16. USB Flash Drives

Returning to the data storage theme, USB flash drives became popular in the early 00s. Although still occasionally used, USBs have widely become redundant thanks to the cloud.

17. Dial-up Internet

The soundtrack to pre-WiFi internet access, dial-up internet meant slow connections, cumbersome cables, and an inability to use the phone while browsing.

18. Conference Phones

If you haven’t already, it’s time to replace the clutter of conference phones with a video conferencing solution, instant messaging, and a VoIP system (if you really need one).

19. Overhead Projectors

Still have an overhead projector lurking in a meeting room? Upgrade to an interactive digital whiteboard that facilitates real-time edits and team collaboration.

20. Fax Machines

Once the pinnacle of modern communications, fax machines have no place in a modern office. Not only are they prone to errors and expensive to maintain, they also lack crucial cybersecurity features.

Don’t Let Old Tech Slow Your Business Down

Some of the obsolete technology on this list may seem like a distant memory, but many businesses still rely on other outdated tools and software that are no longer fit for purpose. Slow, unreliable, and inefficient technology hinders growth and generates significant costs for your business. To learn more about boosting efficiency and saving money on IT management, get in touch with Electric today.

Jessica Farrelly

Jessica is a content writer with more than 8 years of experience covering SaaS and the tech industry. She has worked with both B2B and B2C publications across North America, Europe, and APAC and currently writes about IT Solutions or Electric.

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