Is technology fatigue stifling your team’s productivity?
Technology can either be helpful or a hindrance. By highlighting some key facts and understanding what causes employees to be overwhelmed by technology, workplaces can start to improve the technology environment and see improved productivity.
What is Technology Fatigue?
Simply put, technology fatigue is when a person feels physically and mentally drained due to their overuse of technology, typically in both their work and personal life. A contributing factor is that people are spending too much time in general using technology, with the typical internet user now spending almost 7 hours per day, 6 hours and 58 minutes if you want to be precise, using the internet across all devices. This combined with the number of devices a person has access to in their households, in the United States in 2020 residents had an average of 10.37 devices, which is expected to grow to 13.4 devices by 2023, it is not surprising that more people are reaching a point where they are fatigued by technology.
How much Technology is too much?
Application (app) overload is created when companies find one app to solve one problem, or even multiple apps to solve one problem if multiple teams use different apps for the same problem. This has been accelerated when companies moved to working from home during the pandemic, as leaders added more apps to allow more communication and collaboration, but didn’t consider what they already had available to employees.
Additionally, if individual team leaders are also purchasing apps / trying free versions of apps to create more efficiencies in their teams, without involving the IT department, then it can increase the number of apps an employee has to learn and use. This also makes it harder for IT leaders and departments to manage all the apps the company uses, which means no one is paying close attention to usage, renewal, cost, security and compliance. For most companies, over half (56%) of their apps are not managed, which could lead to some serious problems, not just technology fatigue with employees.
Every time an employee switches between two apps, or websites, they have to get reoriented with the new app, or website, layout and information being presented. The cost of this app switch is roughly 2 seconds. A person moves between apps or websites on average, 1,200 times each day, which means they are spending 48 minutes per day reorienting themselves, adding up to 4 hours per week.
Another study found that employees were 45% less productive due to switching between 13 applications 30 times a day on average. Now might be the time to consider how many apps or websites you and your team uses on a daily basis?
How can we solve technology fatigue?
Start implementing digital transformation
Digital transformation is about developing a culture where people and technology work seamlessly together. It is an opportunity for the company to consider and re-imagine their operations, systems and processes from the ground up. Companies who complete digital transformation are growing two times faster. They are more aware of their IT investment and make sure it is operating efficiently.
Evaluate the entire digital workplace
The digital workplace includes the entire portfolio of applications, devices, facilities and services that are used by employees in the day to day operations of your business. It is important to take a wide view of the digital workplace to see how employees use and interact with all areas, not just focusing on applications, but what devices do the employees use for what applications. Make sure to talk with teams about what technology they find the most useful, where are their pain points around technology and if they see any gaps or double work caused by technology e.g if a process is split over multiple applications and it doesn’t need to be.
Eliminate digital friction
This can work in two ways. Firstly cleaning up your technology, which means reducing the number of applications, platforms, devices and channels an employee uses daily. This includes addressing those pain points and double work identified by looking at the digital workplace.
Clearly communicate to employees a plan for how the technology, which apps, devices and services, will be used and for what purpose in the office. Ensure that you get buy-in from all the stakeholders in the business and leaders take an active step in showcasing how the change in technology will improve their teams experiences. Ensure all stakeholders are informed at each step, if you are removing applications that teams may need to download data from before they are removed.
Second is reducing the digital distractions caused by the remaining technology. This can be done by creating set configurations for notification settings in applications and devices that most employees will use daily, such as email or instant messaging. This allows the employees to only receive notifications either at set time or at a set level of importance. By pairing this with best practices for employees, in terms of when to tag a team vs when to tag an individual in a conversation there should be a reduction in the number of unnecessary notifications.