Opinion

Are you really productive or just busy at work? There’s a difference

Workplace tools intended to streamline tasks have sparked an application overload that’s injecting pandemonium into business processes and costing enterprises in lost productivity.

Shristi Verma
23rd Jul 2019
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“Life is too complicated not to be orderly,” said Martha Stewart . Work life is even more complicated. The workplace is in a constant state of flux, causing considerable tension - and with good reason. Automation, digital platforms, and other innovations are changing the fundamental nature of how things get done. Decision-makers need to have a better understanding of these changes to stay on top of the game.


The world has shrunk as technology has taken over, making cross-territory interactions and data sharing seamless. However, as technology and internet usage increasing, the side effects are also increasing in direct proportion, especially in our professional environment.


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As collaboration and teamwork is seen as key in the breaking down of silos, there’s a push for increased connectivity among employees. According to Harvard Business Review, the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative tools has ballooned by 50 percent or more over the past two decades. When a valuable resource such as time is exhausted at such a staggering rate, these strategies need to be adjourned. Time spent by employees in meetings, responding to emails, and on the phone hovers over 80 percent, leaving little time for crucial tasks.


A global survey of 2,000 workers showed that workplace tools intended to streamline tasks have sparked an application overload that’s injecting pandemonium into business processes and costing enterprises in lost productivity.


When it comes to communication applications, workers today are using an average of four apps, with 20 percent of workers using six or more. This includes applications for calls, messages, web meetings, video conferencing, team messaging, and more. Sixty-nine percent of workers use up to an hour each day navigating between myriad communications apps, amounting to a waste of 32 days per year and the weight of digital overload. In essence, these applications eat up your time and do not contribute much to your productivity, making you busy instead of productive.


We're so busy “collaborating” that we're ruining the real work processes.


“It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau


Things really go downhill if workers start thinking being busy is as effective as being productive and glorify being occupied at all times. You should not wear being crazy busy as a badge of honour.


To counter this app divide, 66 percent of workers want a single communications platform that will bring a sense of productivity to their workplace. However, Corporate is more likely to be satisfied with their current array of tools (44 percent), revealing a detachment with the shift to newer communications and collaboration solutions.


“There is no waste in the world that equals the waste from needless, ill-directed, and ineffective motions.”- Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Sr.


 Workers seek one platform for simplicity. The report found that workers believe a single platform integrating all their communications channels would bring more simplicity to their workday.


Some more statistics:


  • More than 70 percent of workers say communication volume is a challenge
  • 68 percent of workers toggle between apps up to 10 times an hour
  • 31 percent of workers who toggle between apps say they lose their train of thought
  • Navigating apps is more annoying than doing chores for 53 percent of workers, paying bills for 52 percent, and dieting for 50 percent.
  • 51 percent of workers 45 years old and up prefer email, with 43 percent of 18 to 44-year olds preferring team messaging.


“This report confirms what we’re seeing in the workplace—employees prefer a singular, real-time communications platform that increases their productivity and workflow on a day-to-day basis,” said David Smith, Founder and Principal at Inflow Analysis.


“It maps back to the trend toward ‘conversational workspaces.’ Enterprises are striving to enable collaboration combined with real-time communications. As more businesses adopt these platforms, it will encourage workers to use these tools to get more work done with less effort.”


Advantages of reduced application overload


It’s no surprise that enhanced productivity is in the list of anticipated advantages from reduced apps. Thirty-one percent of IT decision makers agreed. Twenty-one percent said reduced costs were the second biggest benefit, while 20 percent cited increased user adoption as another key benefit.


The last thing any business leader wants is a team that is exhausted by unnecessary emails and meetings while constantly scrambling to catch up on ideation. By solving the bottlenecks associated with informational and social collaboration overload, you can reduce personal burnout and give productivity and morale a much-needed boost.


The productivity software system you decide on ought to solve the issues you determine with these queries. That’s why it’s important to be aware of your company’s current information bottlenecks, replicate positive examples of social resources, and focus on reducing the toll on your employees’ personal resources.


Having a seamless method implies a lean and progressive way of management. It focuses on helping teams function in a rapidly rejigging ecosystem, and maintain quality while promptly delivering business value.


(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)



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