One in five workers 'never pick up a pen'

One in five British workers don't ever put pen to paper at work, a study into our reliance upon electronic devices shows.

The report by Warwick Business School shows that the average worker will send 10,000 emails every year and 10% spend the whole day on a computer or a mobile phone.

The research forms part of an online archive called 'Remember How We Used To Work' which is being compiled by npower. The archive looks at our increasing dependence on office gadgets in the past 60 years, from typewriters and telex to laptops and smartphones.

A quarter of office workers don't remember life without email and most of us send and receive about 40 emails a day, with one in 12 dealing with 100-plus daily emails.

More than half of us (57%) check their work emails outside of office hours, with 85% thinking doing so makes them more productive.

Will Skillman, from Warwick Business School said that the average UK office is now unrecognisable from the days the most technologically advanced piece of equipment was a calculator or a photocopy. However he said that the modern office is not necessarily more productive.

Mr Skillman said: "Since the 1950s, technology in the workplace has changed dramatically from telephones and typewriters to advanced personal computers, mobile communications equipment and tablet devices. Our study shows that British workers are now hugely reliant on electrical appliances throughout the working day and while on the move and feel this has improved their productivity.

"Yet what isn't clear is whether this technology-powered workplace is directly helping to improve how we work or if we are just replacing old technologies with new. Certainly the rise of the mobile office means that workers can stay plugged in on the move and for longer periods of time, but whether this has resulted in a more productive workforce remains to be seen."

Other figures show how communication methods have changed, with one in ten workers saying they never make phone calls at work and 48% never post a letter. Some 58% say that electronic gadgets make them work better.

Copyright Press Association 2013