Digital Workplace Tools: The Thin Line Between Empowerment And Distraction

Digital Workplace Tools: The Thin Line Between Empowerment And Distraction

Digital overload may be one of the biggest productivity problems in modern workplaces.

Write, upload, schedule, calculate. Check notifications. Reserve, call. That’s just a few routine actions employees perform daily, with the help of workplace apps. According to the harmon.ie research, most people have between 5 and 9 of them open at once. Meanwhile, the average number of apps used by a modern knowledge worker is 9.39. 

These numbers show how eagerly companies are embracing automation and software-enabled workflows to increase productivity and employee engagement. But despite the great potential, more and more people find that workplace tools add unnecessary complexity to their daily tasks. Workgeist Report 2021  reveals that 43% of employees admit to spending too much time switching between different applications. 

App fatigue, a term coined to describe how consumers are growing tired of the abundance of apps, has made it to workplaces. What is its toll on employee well-being and work efficiency, and how can you turn the digital noise down?

Digital overload in workplaces

It all starts in the IT department. Your workplace IT infrastructure is an intricate cobweb of virtual calendars, scheduling, communication, and other task automation systems. Any new tool should seamlessly blend into the existing setup, facilitate compliance with centralized data and application access, and be platform agnostic to avoid vendor lock-ins. Digital overload poses a risk of not fulfilling these milestones. From the employee's point of view, it means the absence of much-desired flexibility to work from any device, anywhere.

Another problem is that new systems are brought into organizations, but the action plan to streamline user adoption is an afterthought. Employees find the need to combine daily tasks with frequent user training distracting. Even more overwhelming is when technology is not supported with organizational procedures. For example, nearly 70% of people indicate that their workplace fails to manage knowledge and resources efficiently. As a result, they spend approximately an hour every day searching for information trapped within tools and apps.

Interestingly, there’s very little evidence that higher technology spending improves business productivity. In fact, an excess of workplace tools is associated with frequent miscommunication, increased stress levels, and therefore, plummeting productivity. Digital overload may be one of the biggest problems in modern workplaces.

Adopt behaviours, not tools

Does this mean we should stop using workplace technology and limit ourselves to only a handful of applications? Not at all: digital tools are deeply rooted in the organizational culture and offer valuable functionalities. Instead of holding back from the apps, we should change the way we implement and use them.

The solution here is to start with the behaviour, then the tool. Before adopting a new collaboration app, give employees a glimpse into how an analog collaboration happens in real life. Design a simple, yet engaging user training experience. Think of management responsibilities and procedures that could streamline the adoption process.

Last but not least - integrate. In the study cited above, 41% of people totally agreed with the statement, “If important information from all my apps would appear in a single window, it would be easier to focus on work,” and 26% were somewhat in agreement. Therefore, your ability to centralize functionalities from different apps and present them to employees at the right moment is paramount. 

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At YAROOMS, we help companies to turn the digital noise down and switch from a tool-driven to an employee-centric approach. We do this by leveraging the technologies your already use and love.

For example, you can install YAROOMS as a Microsoft Teams channel tab or a personal ribbon app and make it available to your entire user base in minutes. In the familiar Teams interface, office spaces can be effortlessly booked even by a first-time user. 

Save time, accelerate productivity and make connectivity part of your workplace strategy. Contact us for more information. 

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