Nearly half of employees say too much digitalization hurts productivity

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Employees report spending about five hours each week hunting for fragmented information across a sea of apps meant to improve productivity, according to a recent report by Ithaca, N.Y.-based Cornell University and Qatalog.

For the study, researchers conducted three surveys of 1,000 employees in the U.S. and U.K. who were familiar with modern software tools used in the workplace. Forty-two percent of survey respondents had either a four-year college degree or a doctorate. Nearly half (460) employees worked with the company between one and five years.

Four study insights:

  1. Human brains are not wired to work while constantly glancing between email inboxes, tools, documents and more. Forty-five percent of employees said it makes them less productive and 43 percent said it's exhausting to constantly switch through tools and communication channels.

  2. Employees report using 36 minutes daily switching between tools and about 10 minutes to get back into a good workflow after they've entered a new app.

  3. Employees report spending 59 minutes each day looking for information hidden within folders on different applications. That equates to nearly five hours each week looking for information to do their job. Employees also said they have to interrupt at least two co-workers up to five times a day to get assistance in locating data.

  4. Fifty-four percent of employees said adding apps to improve workflow makes it harder to find the data they need.

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