Productivity apps are designed to make our lives easier and make employees more productive. While we often can’t imagine our professional lives without them, we’re also facing a major obstacle: business productivity apps are killing productivity.
Imagine that you’re working on a sales presentation and you need product images. You navigate to the team’s Google Drive and realize the images aren’t there, so you switch to a separate task management app to dig for updates. When you don’t find anything, you switch to yet another team messaging app to ask your team. They say the images are in the team Dropbox instead, and you have to dig through old emails searching for your login information.
Combined with the other tasks on your list, the hundreds of tabs you have open, and a calendar filled to the brim with calls and meetings, it’s easy to reach a breaking point. You’re not alone. Employees all over the world are facing the increasing pressure of technology, and it’s having a major impact on employee stress, retention, and business performance. Let’s look at the reasoning behind it.
App overload leads to employee fatigue
Organizations have over-elevated the saying “There’s an app for that.” Studies show that 68% of employees toggle between 10 apps in a single hour, with some even juggling up to 15. Information is coming from everywhere, and employees are left scrambling to figure out which app has the information they want. This is a phenomenon called “app overload,” and its effects are doing big damage to organizations everywhere.
Consider that a copywriter has to finish an email campaign by the end of the day. Every time she gets a team messaging notification, she clicks to see the message and loses her concentration on her task. Now imagine that she needs to do update tasks, attend online meetings, and submit spreadsheets. Suddenly, it’s the end of the workday and she still hasn’t had the opportunity to finish her email project.
It’s easy to think that employees can jump from task to task effortlessly like a machine, but the reality is that disruptions destroy concentration and hinder creativity. More than two-thirds of employees say that they waste more than 60 minutes a day navigating between apps, and 31% lose their train of thought when they do. When you consider that employees face the same issue across the entire organization, the detriments can be much larger than you realize.
When employees are overwhelmed, businesses suffer
Organizations today realize that in order to be successful, they have to set up their employees for success. But when employees are forced to waste precious time every day battling with technology, their productivity sinks. Fifty-seven percent of employees surveyed said that working with inadequate and obsolete technology has negatively affected workplace productivity and morale.
We’ve all had to work with company computers that take ages just to load a document. But as we wait, we aren’t jumping onto other tasks—we’re sitting there idly waiting for the page to load.
That’s because, for the sake of productivity, it’s much easier to maintain focus than to lose sight of the current task and get sidetracked. Once you open another browser tab, it could lead you down a rabbit hole of other tasks.
Feeling productive and impactful is vital to employee satisfaction, and organizations need to ensure that their employees have everything they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. When employees are bombarded by technological barriers, they won’t produce their best work, which leads to lower satisfaction, higher stress, and lower retention.
Unifying the future of workplace technologies
Too often, C-suites overlook the overabundance problem and simply pile on more tools to solve their business needs. At the same time, employees are increasingly getting fatigued by the addition of more technology they have to learn and manage. It’s time organizations shifted their IT decision-making to overcome app overload and streamline employee work.
Organizations are taking a step in the right direction by migrating from standalone apps to unified solutions. This makes sense from a maintenance perspective. With several different apps, employees have to learn, update, and keep track of information on every app (login details, messages, files), not to mention the mental taxation of switching from one app to another. However, with a unified solution, employees only need to learn a single app that carries a suite of essential functions.
In unified communications, that means a single app for team messaging, video conferencing, and phone. When teams need to switch from messaging to a phone or video call, there’s no need to open a separate app to do it. Employees can simply click once to schedule, start, or join a call with anyone in their team or organization.
Organizations that break down the technological barriers causing employee fatigue will find that employees are much more engaged—and companies with high levels of engagement outperform their competitors by up to four times. It all starts with reducing the number of productivity apps your employees have and adopting unified solutions.
The new RingCentral app is faster, easier, and more intuitive than ever. Streamline your communications apps and give employees the tools they need to work effectively.
Originally published May 06, 2020, updated Jan 18, 2023