Too much information is leading to a communications overload for many employees

Too much information is leading to a communications overload for employees

Employees are experiencing ‘communications overload’ as a result of their organisation’s attempts to keep them continually informed, a new survey claims. According to research by Clarizen, 81 percent of employers say despite taking steps to improve communication among employees, they still lack a way to keep projects on track and provide management oversight. This is because efforts to improve collaboration among employees by opening new lines of communication can have the opposite effect. 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. A common challenge reported by a majority of respondents is that employees, departments and teams are spread across several sites, or team members work from home. 70 percent say 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.

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

That 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 percent) and 40 percent implementing one or more of Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts or Slack.
  • 47 percent switched email platforms.
  • 34 percent implemented new policies regarding meetings, such as imposing time limits, or placing a cap on the number employees must attend each week or month.

73 percent say 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 percent) 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.

For a breakdown of the survey’s findings, see the infographic “Game of Productivity: Communication Overload is Here” on Clarizen’s blog.