Between mobile devices and work computers, employees are rarely out of reach. A study by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers found that the average person checks their phone 150 times a day. That’s right, 150 times a day! This convenient proximity to technology can often make employees feel like they’re never getting anything accomplished, let along escape from work during their time off.
In an age where data is always within our fingertips’ click of a button, information overload is increasingly a powerful force that HR will have to tackle in 2015 and beyond.
Not only is the pervasiveness of technology taking its toll, but the complexity of it is as well. The explosion of technology has produced features more quickly than employees know what to do with. To relieve overwhelmed employees from the constant barrage of information, company leaders and HR staff can focus on these three remedies to restore their workforce.
- Take Time Away
According to consumer surveys conducted by the travel website Skift, American workers left $169 million in vacation pay on the table in 2014. Further results revealed that employees did not take their time off because they felt they were “too busy.”
With 41 percent of workers not taking time off in 2014, it is no surprise there is a growing epidemic of overloaded employees. As technology continues to thrive in the workplace, HR needs to seize initiatives that encourage employees to take time away from work. By taking advantage of vacation time, employees can reduce stress and get away from the constant barrage of daily demands. With recharged batteries and a greater level of focus, employees can return to the workplace ready to solve business problems and maximize productivity.
- Cut Emails, Control Meetings
More than 100 billion emails are exchanged daily, yet only one in seven is considered critically important. This torrent of messages has now resulted in the average employee spending a quarter of his or her workday reading and responding to emails. With only a few quarters left, employees are then obligated to attend numerous meetings while maintaining a consistent level of work efficiency and output. Because of this, they are forced to spend more office hours cramming in work to meet deadlines and stay ahead. For companies to get ahead of the curve, it is important that emails and meetings be reduced.
One way companies could do this is by implementing the “8 to 5” policy. Such a policy would relieve employees from sending or responding to emails from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. While this could be difficult in the beginning, a policy that limits communication to certain times will give employees more freedom to set their devices aside and better direct their energy elsewhere.
Obviously, this isn’t possible for everyone and every organization, but it is definitely food for thought.
- Simplify the Technology
Technology has to be simpler if companies are going to relieve information overload. The time for multiple technological features has faded; employees want to utilize technology that only takes a single click to complete a task or find the information they desire.
To gauge the complexity of your HR technology, go to the source and communicate with HR. How long does it take HR to find information on employees or send a company-wide survey? How long does it take for employees to complete an expense report?
If the answer involves numerous clicks and several different passwords, then navigating your integrated system is too difficult. Simplifying company technology will save employees time and increase their productivity within the organization.
Technology is a powerful tool and its benefits are seen clearly every day. But like many great things, it also can overwhelm. By implementing these strategies, HR departments can protect employees from information overload even as technology takes a larger role in the workplace.