It was the third hour of doing nothing that broke James Scott. The 25-year-old researcher was sitting at his desk at an insurance firm in northern England when the internet went down. And with it went access to all of his files, which were sitting on a company server. “Being without the internet is manageable, just about,” he said. “I’d just work on projects that didn’t require online research. But being unable to access any files for half a day meant I was totally unproductive.” Scott ended up reading a vaguely work-related book while checking every 10 minutes to see if the company was back online. The three wasted hours? “Infuriating,” he said. Slow, outdated computers and intermittent internet connections demoralise workers, a survey of 6,000 European workers said. Half of UK employees said creaking computers were “restrictive and limiting", and 38% said modern technology would make them more motivated, according to the survey, commissioned by electronics company Sharp. Scott’s P...

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