Suffering Tech Overload? How to Help Employees Get App-Happy

People rely on all kinds of technology to get their work done. Zoom meetings, Slack messages, scheduling apps, and other tools keep the workplace humming. But at what point does all that tech do more harm than good? Can employers and their employees find the sweet spot—the point where apps make work and life run smoothly instead of leaving workers distracted and in a frenzy?

Simplicity or Distraction?

Aprimo, a software developer for marketing and customer service professionals, surveyed 750 U.S. managers and executives about their use of apps at work and home. The results show people see benefits to using apps designed to simplify their days, but when they use too many, the value declines.

The “2023 Aprimo Survey: The Complex Pursuit of Simplicity” found that 77% of respondents said they want to make their lives simpler. Of those respondents, 82% said they were most interested in simplifying either their work lives (22%) or both their work and home lives (60%).

Thirty-nine percent of respondents say their lives are more complex now than before COVID as a result of pandemic-triggered changes, and the survey found most people believe using apps can simplify their lives as long as they don’t overdose on tech.

When is Tech Trouble?

How much is too much? The research found 90% of respondents use at least one app, 65% use at least six, and 12% use more than 15 apps in their quest to simplify their lives.

When asked if their use of apps has been successful in simplifying their lives, those using six to 10 apps reported the best results, but those who use 20 or more reported the lowest satisfaction.

People who reported problems cited challenges in integrating apps into their daily routines and in using them in conjunction with other apps. Some problems included not being able to figure out how to use the apps and not being able to get the apps to work together.

The research found the most popular apps relate to health and fitness. Next are organization and time management apps, then productivity and task management apps. Personal finance apps were also popular, along with apps designed to enhance communication and collaboration.

When respondents were asked what kinds of apps they use the most and least successfully, organization and time management apps were the top answer to both questions. Survey results show 39% of respondents said those apps were the most successful in simplifying their lives, and 29% said they were the least successful.

What to Do

TechSmith, a provider of screen capture and recording software, tackles the question of how employers can prevent tech overload and suggests they audit the tools being used.

Eliminating redundancy is one way to simplify the use of technology. Employers should check whether an app already in use can fulfill the need before adding a new one, and upgrading an app may be a more cost-effective—and simpler—way to accomplish a goal.

Getting feedback from employees is also important when adding or removing tools, TechSmith says. Employee opinions about functionality and usefulness can help in the decision-making process when evaluating apps.

A blog from EduMe, a provider of mobile-based training, also offers advice on adopting the right technology, and doing your homework tops the list. “Take the time to research what productivity issues you need to address before investing in any new technology, and consult with your employees to see if you’re missing something,” the blog says.

Keeping the timeline in mind is also important, the EduMe blog adds. Have a plan for launching any new technology that includes training employees, and set a date for discarding the old ways.

Training also takes careful planning. Some employees appreciate a hands-on experience, while others respond better to a mobile approach. In addition, the training should include an explanation of any new app’s benefits, EduMe says.

According to the EduMe blog, seeking feedback at all stages is important when introducing new technology, as well as maintaining communication, as people need to be informed of any software changes.

Tammy Binford is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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