Knowledge workers detail the biggest issues facing their companies during the pandemic, with the two largest issues stemming from data clutter and time mismanagement.
With remote and hybrid work becoming the standard for employees as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there are still several areas in which enterprises can improve. One aspect in particular may even cause workers to hand in their resignations.
Glean found as part of their hybrid work report that many employees say they are spending unnecessary amounts of time just trying to track down information that should be easily accessible to complete their work.
“We’re all spending more time asking and answering questions digitally,” said Arvind Jain, co-founder and CEO of Glean. “This survey highlights how frustrating and time consuming employees find the process of searching for answers and information that should be easily accessible. All aspects of work, from onboarding to material creation to customer support can be made more efficient by having prior knowledge instantly available for reference. We continue that mission at Glean with our latest product updates that provide dispersed teams with the ability to connect not only to work and information, but to each other.”
Data clutter and the trickle down effect
The survey polled over 1,000 knowledge workers, and found that one-quarter of employees said they spend at least two hours per day looking for the documents, information or people they need to do their jobs. Over one-quarter (26%) of those surveyed said this data clutter and disorganization of files has led to many starting a project for work that they later found had already existed but was not easily identifiable. The same percentage (26%) of employees ages 35-44 noted they had spent five hours per day searching for information needed to do their jobs.
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While some have taken it upon themselves to create the documents needed to get work done, others have found that it was easier simply to ask a coworker, as 24% said they have asked a colleague for documents and information rather than taking the time to find it themselves. As a cascade effect, this disorganization can also lead to conflict within the workplace. Per the report, 20% said they have gotten into work disagreements because of misunderstandings due to issues with virtual communication. In addition, 43% of those surveyed said they would consider leaving their current role if there was not an easier way to access the information.
These knowledge workers also noted that they believe their companies need to become better organized, and fast. Nearly half (45%) of polled employees said they believed their company was stuck in the dark ages when it came to data and needed to modernize its processes for sharing documents.
The amount of time taken to find documents and files coupled with the numerous applications that have been introduced to assist with work during the pandemic has left many employees pressed for time during the day. Over a third (35%) of employees said they switch between work apps at least four times per hour, and this number jumped to 50% of workers in the 18-34 age range.
While everyone’s time at work is valuable, it does not always seem that way to workers themselves. Nearly one-fifth (18%) of respondents said they are interrupted by coworkers at least five times per hour, and 20% of women said they have this issue on an hourly basis. When this interference is coupled with the unnecessary time taken to find the documents needed for work, this can lead to a large brain and energy drain for many employees.
Work-life balance during the pandemic
With this information, enterprises need to prioritize easier and more efficient ways to access the information their workforce need to complete tasks, but a large contingent of employees say companies are not putting enough emphasis on getting organized. While over 40% said they would consider leaving their positions if they didn’t have easy ways of accessing needed information, this number surged to 51% of employees in the 18-34 age range would consider leaving if this need was not met. That percentage was even higher amongst workers in the 35-44 year old range, as 57% said they would quit if this were the case.
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The study also found that employees with children had less patience for these issues at work while trying to manage their time efficiently, as 54% of parents noted they would quit if there was no efficient way to search for information they need. Well over half (60%) of those with kids said they would be willing to give up their morning coffee or tea in exchange for the ability to instantly find or have access to the documents and information they need at any given moment at work.
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