App overload may cost employers 32 days of productivity each year
- Apps designed to streamline workflow and raise productivity are instead causing chaos for workers, a new report from RingCentral, Inc., says. Including communication applications for texts, phone calls, team messaging, web meetings and video conferencing, employees are using on average four apps, and 20% are using six or more, according to From Workplace Chaos to Zen: How App Overload Is Reshaping the Digital Workplace.
- Most employees said that the volume of communication makes getting their work done difficult, resulting in their toggling between apps up to 10 times per hour; that can waste as much as an hour per day, for a total loss of 32 days a year, the report says. Most workers also reported that they'd prefer to communicate through one platform to simplify the workday, restore productivity and eliminate chaos.
- Team messaging was cited as the least disruptive form of communication during the workday and the preference of workers ages 18 to 44. RingCentral says team messaging is growing more popular as the preferred single communication platform. However, workers age 45 and older in the study generally said they prefer email.
HR leaders want to cultivate and maintain a satisfied, productive workforce. This means removing any work habits, practices or systems that create chaos for workers. If app overload is causing too much distress for employees, HR may be in a good position to intervene. The solution might be working with IT to limit the number of apps in the workplace or spearheading plans to find and invest in one platform.
As employers undergo a digital transformation, they'll need to help workers understand the kinds of changes in thinking and behavior that will be necessary. And while that often involves adopting new tools, it also may mean giving some up to better streamline the work.
With an app available for almost everything, and more appearing on the scene every day, users are sure to find ones that fit their lifestyles and preferences. But apps are tools, not lifestyles. And just as with any tool, those that lose their usefulness or create more problems than they solve should be reevaluated.