In the morning, you sit at your desk, coffee at the ready, prepared to tackle an urgent task. But first, you decide to answer some emails from last night. While you’re doing that, a messaging icon starts flashing in your toolbar. Before you can get back to your email, your phone rings, and then you have to switch screens to jump on an online meeting. You look up, finally, and it’s lunchtime. And you still have that urgent task waiting for you (and now your coffee is cold). You know you need to simplify your day, and it starts with communication.
Knowledge workers use an average of four communications apps, including phone calls, texts, web meetings, video conferencing, team messaging apps, and more. One-fifth of workers (20%) use six or more. They’re drowning in apps, switching screens, and scrambling frantically to keep up with the pace of workplace communication.
More apps, less productivity
More apps do not necessarily lead to more efficiency, however. They often lead to more problems. Switching between all these apps is a form of multitasking, although productivity experts may claim that multitasking is a myth. Even the act of off interrupting can have a longer impact on one’s attention that the immediate moment — studies have shown that it can take up to 25 minutes after to refocus. Meanwhile, 69% of workers are losing up to an hour each day switching between communications apps, wasting up to 32 days per year per worker. The end result for business is billions in lost productivity.
As workers switch between apps, their flow is disrupted. Think of it as “getting into the groove,” when someone is so focused that they’re fully using their skills and energy to overcome a challenge. A lot of creative people describe working this way, becoming so immersed in painting or writing that they aren’t easily distracted by the world around them.
Unfortunately, that’s not how the modern office works. But employees need to get into a flow of their own, completing their immediate tasks so that they can take on new challenges.
Removing obstacles by simplifying technology
Streamlining communications with a unified platform would bring employees the simplicity they need, removing the need to navigate between six or more apps just to keep up with their workplace. The data backs this up: workers believe that integrating all their communications into one platform would help them achieve a better workflow, be more productive at work (65%), make work feel less chaotic (62%), and make it easier to work remotely (61%). They might even be able to drink their coffee before it gets cold.
To inspire productivity, a communications platform has to include all-in-one messaging, calls, and meetings – a single channel with no app switching. It also shouldn’t require additional downloads or browser plug-ins. Employees should be able to join channels with just one click and use the platform on any device—including their mobile phones.
Communications is often an effortless experience in our personal lives. Messaging a colleague should be just as easy as messaging a friend. A unified platform simplifies the communications experience within the business context, removing friction and keeping employees as productive as possible.
Originally published Oct 01, 2019, updated Aug 11, 2020