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Dive Brief:

  • Workers in the US are overwhelmed by their notifications, Asana’s 2022 Anatomy of Work Report suggests. About two-thirds (63%) of US workers continue to check their email outside of work hours — the highest percentage across the board in Asana’s international study. The software company’s research team polled workers from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the UK and the US At 62%, workers in the US were the most likely to report feeling the need to reply to emails straight away. This rate was even higher among Generation Z and millennials.
  • Additionally, Asana found that US workers use nine apps a day to get tasks done. While this number is smaller than Asana’s 2021 report metric (which was 13 apps a day), managers surveyed for the 2022 report use about 10 apps a day, on average, to address their work responsibilities. Whereas workers overall at large companies tended to use nine apps a day and staff at smaller companies used six, employees at medium-size companies were likely to use 10.
  • Respondents noted the ways switching between apps tanked their productivity, with 19% reporting reduced attention to tasks and 17% admitting they worked longer hours because of it. Overall, 21% of respondents agreed that flicking between apps had made them less efficient at their job.

DiveInsight:

According to the data, there might be something to the adage, “This could have been an email.”

While 41% of respondents reported spending more time on emails than a year ago, 43% of respondents told Asana they are spending more time on video calls than one year ago.

And while Asana’s US participants said they’re overwhelmed by the breadth of their digital interactions with colleagues — 34% said they struggle to respond to important messages, with the rate being even higher for millennials and Gen Zers — respondents did offer a few key solutions to save their work day and their mental health.

More than half (52%) said that more efficient meetings could effectively reduce the number of notifications, and 48% of respondents said clearer responsibilities could also limit the number of notifications. Gen Zers, millennials and those in C-suite roles were most likely to emphasize the importance of well-outlined expectations.

In addition to surveying notification fatigue, Asana’s 2022 Anatomy of Work report also cracks open current approaches to the hybrid work model, strategic workflow and attitudes regarding labor.

Asana’s solution? Reduce what their research team calls “work about work” — as opposed to skilled work or strategy. The umbrella term “work about work” encompasses tasks such as responding to emails and addressing notifications.

Asana also recommends consolidating apps and tools into one work management platform “to reduce context-switching.”

A key management hack that can apply, regardless of what eight, nine or 10 apps a workplace is using: lean into integrations, Asana said. That way, workers can continue to reap the benefits of individual apps, while engaging in an ecosystem that’s pretty seamless. The report recommends that managers encourage workers to use “do not disturb” functions or block off time on their calendar for focused work.

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