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There have been a number of trends sweeping through the workplace over the past few years due to the extreme — yet unavoidable — overhaul to where employees work and how they connect with their teams. From ‘The Great Resignation’ to ‘quiet quitting,’ the core of these trends is employees being overloaded with work — and not knowing how to keep up. This means high job dissatisfaction, workers feeling overworked and underpaid, and a decline in productivity — all of which lead to employees completely quitting or checking out while still on the job.
Teams today have access to workplace tools for everything from communication to analytics to project management — so why are employees still struggling with burnout and low productivity? It’s because the excessive amount of tools that companies are implementing don’t address the root of these issues — they’re simply features. And as a result, 96% of employees are dissatisfied with the tools they’ve been equipped with to manage their work.
Now that remote and hybrid work has become the norm, workplace tools have to power more than just the ability for employees to work from home. They have to foster collaboration, manage priorities, encourage transparency and maximize productivity.
Related: The Collapse of Credit Suisse: A Cautionary Tale of Resistance to Hybrid Work
Here are three things that every workplace tool should empower teams to do in order to manage their work effectively and keep them engaged:
1. Prioritize the work that matters
When employees don’t know what projects and tasks are most important to their team, everything becomes a priority. And when everything is a priority, nothing gets done.
Think about it, if a manager assigns a task with no deadline and no indication of its importance to the business, it’s up to an employee to decide how much of a priority it is. This usually means the employee will determine the timeline of the task based on how much they enjoy the task or how long it will take them, or they might even put it on hold until their manager reminds them about it. And they’re left to do this for every task they’re juggling, which makes priorities even more challenging to manage and can severely impact productivity.
According to a recent Slingshot report, 21% of employees say they need tools that go beyond creating a laundry list of to-dos and deadlines but help them to prioritize tasks that will drive the biggest impact.
Workplace tools should help employees prioritize their tasks and help leaders to aid them in doing so.
Related: 5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Employees’ Productivity
2. Make business data accessible
Most employees don’t use data to guide their business decisions — not because they don’t know how important it is, but because they don’t have easy access to the data they need to do so.
In most organizations, data is spread across multiple platforms, channels and gatekeepers and requires heavy analysis. As a result, teams don’t have a quick, holistic lens into the data they need and must often make decisions simply based on gut instincts or based on the most senior or loudest person in the room.
A quarter of workers (25%) named the inability to access business data to effectively do their work and make decisions as one of the biggest things holding back their progress. And only 11% of employees said they could gain insight and make decisions with their current workplace tools.
Business teams need their workplace tools to not only make the data they need to do their jobs accessible but help them — especially with limited data background — to interpret the data. When employees can integrate data into everything they do, they’re empowered to identify trends, assess performance and forecast the next best steps for every project and drive better decisions.
Related: Note to Startups: Employees Are Happiest When Leaders Have a Moral Compass
3. Reduce invisible work
If you were to ask an employee what they do each day, you’d likely hear about the projects they’re on and their daily tasks as part of that. They likely won’t mention the time they spend scheduling meetings, switching from app to app to find content and follow up on conversations and the time they spend preparing for work.
That’s why we call this ‘invisible work’ because it’s work time spent on tasks that, many times, employees don’t even realize they’re spending such a large amount of time on. This time could be devoted to tasks that are moving the needle forward for their business.
Twenty-six percent (26%) of workers say that one of their biggest challenges is switching from platform to platform throughout the day. This “app switching” sucks productivity instead of creating it and forces employees to readjust their timelines and push off more critical tasks.
Related: Managing the Invisible Worker
The right workplaces tools won’t send employees wasting their time finding content, chats, data or deadlines — instead, they’ll integrate with everything teams need. When teams have everything in one place, they’ll take invisible work off their plate once and for all and drive greater productivity.
Many employees may be overloaded and overwhelmed, but they don’t have to be. Workplace tools can empower increased collaboration, productivity and work management–businesses just need to make sure they’re implementing these tools that help teams to do so.