Communication overload to blame for productivity level drop


A new survey by Clarizen, the collaborative work management company, has found that companies’ efforts to improve collaboration among employees by opening new lines of communication can have the opposite effect.

81% of respondents said despite taking steps to improve communication among employees, they still lack a way to keep projects on track and provide management oversight.

Instead, employees suffer from the modern workplace malady known as “communication overload,” a productivity-killing infirmity characterised by too many meaningless meetings and an excessive number of emails, notifications and alerts that are devoid of importance, context or urgency.

>See also: Oxfam’s communication transformation

Clarizen surveyed nearly 300 representatives of companies around the world, and found that only 16% considered the productivity levels of their teams as “Excellent.” Nearly a quarter (22%) indicated “Just OK” or even “We Need Help!”

These falling levels of productivity have come despite the fact that companies have taken one or more of the following steps within the past year to improve employee communication:

• Implemented one or more communication technologies such as Skype (58%) and 40% implementing one or more of Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts or Slack.

• 47% switched email platforms.

• 34% implemented new policies regarding meetings, such as imposing time limits, or placing a cap on the number employees must attend each week or month.

A common challenge reported by a majority of respondents is their employees, departments and teams are spread across several sites, or team members work from home.

>See also: Top 5 collaboration and communication predictions for 2017

70% said they need to go beyond creating additional lines of communication, and facilitate better collaboration among employees so they can work together to meet objectives, coordinate activities and monitor progress.

At the same time, 73% said they need collaborative software that increases productivity by tying communication to specific business tasks — helping teams align goals, coordinate workflow, track progress, allocate budget and meet deadlines. Yet, only just over half (53%) have done so.

“There’s no doubt that leveraging technologies to improve the lines of communication among employees is important, but communicating is not the same as collaborating,” said Anne Catambay, vice president of Marketing at Clarizen.


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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