‘A Global Frustration’: Communication Overload in the Workplace

In a business world that values simplicity and time management, workers everywhere are (surprisingly) suffering from a “global feeling of frustration.” That is, they are feeling overwhelmed due to the increasing number of applications that they can use to communicate and collaborate.

With so many channels, 69% of workers waste up to 60 minutes a day navigating between applications. Even worse, nearly 31% of those same people tend to lose their train of thought while multitasking between apps. It’s very possible you and your company are suffering from these same issues, perhaps without even realizing it!

RingCentral’s 2018 global study of workers studied the impact of application overload and its relation to business communication. Their study found that half of workers are using four or more communications apps, including phone, text, video conferencing, and team messaging. A similar study conducted by RescueTime, a time management application, finds that, “ [...] through its analysis of more than 50,000 knowledge workers that the average employee can’t go 6 minutes without checking email or IM and communication tools are a constant source of interruption to our focused work.”

70% of app users find the overload challenging to navigate -- so who’s actually dominating the communication game and how are they doing it? More importantly, how can the ones actually suffering make their professional lives more enjoyable?

RingCentral found that women, baby boomers, and west coasters are apparently the masters of communicating across channels. But that only means they feel less frustrated than their comparisons, not that they don’t feel frustrated at all.

Solutions For You and Your Time

Let’s face it, communication channels are not single handedly destroying time. Rather, we as human beings are more likely to get distracted from using them. Every company wants to better their communication and having solid, reliable applications to help with this could be an extremely effective approach. The problem comes from too many communication channels at once -- Email, Slack, Text, Wrike, Skype, Basecamp, and more -- operating within your company.

Not only this, but according to CEB Global, “If you want to improve employees’ performance and experience at the same time, focus less on providing new ways for them to communicate and more on enabling them to act.”

This means providing managers and employees with data they can perceive right away in a way that urges them to improve. Instead of emailing or sending a quick message while they hope their superior reviews it, take a guided approach that invests in the opportunity to show things like how many ideas the company brainstorms together. This is a variable that they can see, act on, and work toward changing for themselves.

Working with a Virtual Assistant

When you work with a virtual assistant, your communication channels should probably be open across the board. However, communicating with your VA can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. Virtual assistants and their teams, like at Virtual Assist USA, are flexible and ready to communicate with you in the ways that fit you and your company best.

If you want to stick to a certain number of communication channels then you can set your VA with those communication channels alone and have them stick to it. That way you are not jeopardizing any poor channel management and don’t have to worry about how you’re going to keep in touch with your virtual assistant!

The feeling of frustration in the workplace is a grim reality but it is a reality nonetheless. Taking steps toward downsizing communication channels and encouraging your company to act, instead of merely reporting and responding, can start by recognizing whether or not you’re suffering from too much multitasking. Chances are that you are not managing your channels and time as effectively as you’d like or think that you are!

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