It’s an unwritten expectation. A secret bullet point, if you will, hidden in job listings, “amateur detective experience required.” Let’s face it, modern knowledge workers are forced to comb through digital warehouses filled with information to find the most important documents they need. Employees act as private eyes using clues to find the pre-read for next week’s virtual event or toggle through apps to find the latest sales update. And with many working from home, there are no witnesses to give them any leads.
It’s a silly comparison but it’s one many can relate to. As each employee searches across apps and softwares where information is saved and stored, valuable time and mental energy is being lost. With companies adopting more and more softwares with good intentions, information is spreading all over the place and answers to different questions are getting harder and harder to find.
If this is an issue for current employees, imagine what it’s like for new hires, especially working remotely. A blank tab doesn’t give much guidance. Workers in the office could tap someone’s shoulder to ask or even overhear useful tips. But these are not reliable ways to find information and with hybrid schedules the person you need at the moment might not be around.
The dizzying search
The reality is apps and software are needed to do work, especially in an increasingly virtual work world where the average company uses nearly 90 software apps. Larger organizations double that with 200 apps on average. Yikes! Just think about the number of times today you have hit Alt-Tab or Command-Tab for our Mac users. According to the Harvard Business Review, to complete just one task, an employee switched about 350 times between 22 different applications and websites. By the end of the day, that number added up to more than 3,600 times. Yikes again!
Each app toggle is jarring for the brain. Most softwares aren’t created to be compatible, instead they each have their own design and features that employees have to adjust to after each switch. HBR actually found it takes people about two seconds to reorient each time. Compare this to walking into a different room to grab something. Now imagine walking into your colleague’s house for another item; it would take a second to get your bearings. Multiple that feeling by hundreds of times a day to get your job done.