Qatalog: Productivity software overload is killing workers’ productivity

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An overload of productivity tools is, ironically, killing workers’ productivity. That is the conclusion Cornell University’s Ellis Idea Lab researchers drew after a survey found that people were wasting 59 minutes of every working day trying to find information hidden within different apps and tools.

Qatalog, a digital work hub, partnered with Cornell researchers to research how people manage, access, share and create knowledge at work.

During the pandemic, newly-remote teams rushed to adopt software tools that promised to help them stay connected and work more effectively from home. But these apps aren’t delivering on their promise — in fact, they’re making workers’ lives worse. The explosion of workplace apps is overloading people with information, creating knowledge silos, and leading to confusion, mistakes and time-wasting:

  • Employees are wasting 59 minutes every day trying to find information hidden within different apps.
  • There are too many tools, as 43% said they spend too much time each day switching between different work software, and 45% said the back-and-forth makes them less productive.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 workers — 48% — said they are making mistakes at work because they can’t keep track of what’s going on across all their employers’ different digital tools.
  • Trying to track what work has been done is difficult, as 44% said siloed digital tools make it hard to know whether work is being duplicated by their colleagues.

Despite their individual merits, different software tools are combining to create a noisy, chaotic and fragmented digital working environment. More than half– 54% — of the respondents said applications can sometimes make it harder to find information, and 58% of people were not certain all the departments were using the same online tools. There were concerns — 49% — that important information will get lost and and that information will not reach the intended audience.

That chaos is because these tools are built to solve one problem well, but not designed to work together.

“There’s been an explosion in the number of apps we rely on to do our jobs, but the result isn’t greater productivity — it’s total chaos. No matter their individual merits, each tool is adding to a noisy digital environment that is, quite literally, driving workers to distraction. The more time that we waste on this mess, the less we have for deep thought and meaningful engagement with our colleagues,” said Tariq Rauf, CEO and founder of Qatalog. “We deserve better.”

The research team at Cornell University’s Ellis Idea Lab conducted three extensive surveys (1,000 participants per survey) to gather data, following the Gallup poll model, on March 31, 2021. Participants were based in the US and UK, working remotely, and familiar with modern software applications in the workplace.

Read the full Qatalog/Cornell research Workgeist Report.


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