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Computer-illiterate Dutch employees squander 19 billion euros

IT problems and employees with only marginal knowledge of computers are the cause of a substantial loss of productivity - to the tune of 19 billion euros a year.

On Wednesday the University of Twente presented its study Ctrl Alt Delete, which shows that technical problems and inadequate computer skills lead to an 8-percent productivity loss.

Researcher Alexander van Deursen: "Employers and employees are hardly aware of this fact. It’s impossible to prevent completely, but there is much to be gained in this field. Each hour we spend at a computer, we lose nearly 5 minutes per person."

The organisations which commissioned the study, including the European Computer Driving Licence Foundation and the IT education and development fund CA-ICT, advise training courses to improve and test employees’ computer skills.

"The possible benefits of such training courses are being seriously underestimated," Van Deursen says. Employers are also advised to broaden the role of their helpdesks, which currently are primarily involved in technical issues but should also be given a support role in teaching computer skills.

“It’s also a good idea to formalise the spontaneous help offered by colleagues. For instance an IT-buddy who can serve as an extension of the helpdesk.”

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