British businesses are paying a high price for the introduction of tablets in the workplace with 47% of users experiencing tablet failures in the past two years. Those with tablet troubles have experienced an average of three failures during this period and an average repair or replacement time of 2 weeks. 

The tablet troubles were identified in one of the first studies to examine the reliability of tablets used for British business.

The most common cause of failures was extreme temperatures, with 29% of problem tablets being left in a hot place and 11% out in in the cold, such as in a car overnight. Aside from temperature-related issues, the most common accident was a fall, being dropped or knocked off a desk (21%).

This was followed by spillages of water, coffee, tea and soft drinks (17%) and even total immersion in water (pool, sea, river, sink, bath, puddle) at 11%. More than 1 in 10 (11%) even reported seeing their tablet run over by a vehicle.

Collectively, 47% of employees who use a tablet for work-related tasks have encountered a problem with them in the past 2 years.

The most common cause of the failures is battery problems (27%), touch screen issues (16%) and another 10% suffering screen breakages or button failure. The problems were compounded by the 14-day average length of repair or replacement time for the tablets. The research was based on responses from 500 British workers who use a tablet for work.

These findings indicate that British businesses are currently paying a very high price for the convenience of using tablets in the workplace, including expensive total cost of ownership and costly worker downtime. The benefits of tablets are clear for all to see but businesses must pay much more attention to the types of device most suitable for their mobile workers and the requirements they have for the device.

For example, will the tablet be used inside or outside; will it require removable and exchangeable batteries with long life between charges and will it be exposed to extreme temperatures, dust and dirt or poor weather conditions?”

Email and access to the internet were the two most common work-related tasks that employees use tablets for (both 89%). Also popular was document review on the move (59%) and using Word (50%) and Excel (40%). However, 44% of employees also use a tablet to access work-specific business apps.

The tablet is most commonly used for work-related tasks when employees are travelling (73%). However, 64% use it when they work outside of their regular hours and 49% use it to work when on holiday. 53% of respondents said that they use the tablet to work outdoors, with 45% using it inside or at their desk and similarly, 45% when on client or customer premises.

Overall, most employees think the tablet makes them more efficient when performing work-related tasks on the move (43%) but 68% of tablet users said they believed their tablet was less resilient to failure than the devices they used before, such as a PC, laptop or smartphone.