One in four workers would deliberately break their office PC or mobile, or trade it in at a store themselves, as they believe it's the best way to get their hands on a new device, says Mozy.

Research by the online backup service of 3,000 office workers in the UK, Germany and France, revealed 40 percent of staff claim their aging PC is affecting their productivity at work , so its no wonder many are resorting to extreme measures to get themselves new kit.

However, Mozy said these actions could result in data loss for those businesses that do not have automatic backup systems in place for devices such as laptops and phones.

"Brits have come to expect a certain level of speed and quality when using computers and mobiles in their workplace. Employees no longer want to be held up by slow or faulty devices but they might not realise the level of damage they can be doing to the companies they work for by taking matters into their own hands," said Claire Galbois-Alcaix, EMEA senior marketing manager Mozy.

"The data on their laptop is almost certainly going to be worth more than the laptop itself and breaking it gives the business no way to migrate that information to the new device. Data loss can destroy companies and, in a fragile economy, no business can afford it."

In the UK, the average office PC is five years old compared to just two years and seven months in Germany. Mozy suggests this indicates German businesses are more efficient at replacing outdated technology. Furthermore, 40 percent of office workers have newer computers at home than they do at work, while a quarter revealed their employers have not been refreshing IT as frequently as they have in the past, due to the state of the economy.

One in ten UK workers also admitted they'd purchase new parts for their work devices themselves and perform their own upgrade in a bid to improve the technology they use.

"Employers also need to take action. It's bad enough that they are running their businesses on computers that are so old that they could fail at any moment but there's a real danger that that those doddery devices will be helped on their way to the scrap heap" added Galbois-Alcaix

"To protect themselves, employers need to make sure that every computer they are using is backed up at least once a day – with a special focus on backups happening when laptops are off-site and vulnerable."