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Why you need to have a happy workforce

16th March 2022

How well do you know Microsoft Office?

72% of office workers believe they need more training in the Microsoft Office suite.

Patrick Crowder

The Microsoft Office suite of programmes has become the standard in universities and workplaces around the world. Many readers will likely be familiar with Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Outlook, and many use them on a daily basis. However, a survey conducted by Acuity Training has found that 72% of office workers believe that they need more training in the Office suite.

The ubiquity of Microsoft Office can mean that knowledge of how to use it is often assumed to be the norm.  In reality only 12% of office workers receive regular training in Microsoft tools, and 49% have never been trained in their use at all.

While many office workers surveyed say that they are competent in the Microsoft suite, they appear to be more skilled in some applications than others. Employees are most comfortable using Word and Outlook, rating their confidence in using the programmes an average of 7.8 out of 10.

Excel is an extremely popular tool which is essential to many jobs and appears frequently as necessary knowledge on job applications. Acuity Training asked 1,000 office workers what the formula for Excel’s AVERAGE function is, and 57% of them answered correctly. 12% gave the wrong answer, while 31% had no idea and made no attempt to guess.

Interestingly, the survey shows that age plays a role not only in overall competence with Microsoft Office, but also in which programmes employees feel most comfortable using. Over-65s are more likely to be skilled in Excel than their 18–24-year-old colleagues, while the 18-24s are far more likely than over-65s to be familiar with the information management application Access.

Very few employees say that they are “very unconfident” in using the flagship programme Word. Only 4% of over-65s say that they could not use Word, and all of the 18-24s say that they are comfortable using Word.

On the other hand, the automated workflow application Power Automate is mostly unknown to all demographics. 18-24s are most likely to say that they know the programme, but still only 4% report that they are “very confident” using Power Automate.

Knowledge of Microsoft Office continues to grow as people are now learning the programmes from a young age and incorporating their use into school projects. The long-standing flagship applications such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are already widely known, while the more niche programmes Viseo, Power Automate, and Power BI are not.

While it may not be necessary for employees to know every application inside and out, the ones which are used the most often should be understood at a deep level. It is important to find out where employees struggle with the applications they use every day, as a lack of knowledge can affect how efficiently work is done. Everyone is more comfortable with some programmes over others, and extra training can help to fill in the gaps.

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