Clarizen survey pins falling productivity levels on “communication overload”

Respondents report that focusing on improving communication can make getting work done more difficult

A new survey by Clarizen, the global leader in collaborative work management, finds that companies’ efforts to improve collaboration among employees by opening new lines of communication can have the opposite effect. 81 per cent of respondents say despite taking steps to improve communication among employees, they still lack a way to keep projects on track and provide management oversight.

Instead, employees suffer from the modern workplace malady known as “communication overload,” a productivity-killing infirmity characterized by too many meaningless meetings and an excessive number of emails, notifications and alerts that are devoid of importance, context or urgency.

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

Clarizen surveyed nearly 300 representatives of companies around the world, and found that only 16 per cent consider the productivity levels of their teams as “Excellent.” Nearly a quarter (22 per cent) 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 per cent) and 40 per cent implementing one or more of Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts or Slack.
  • 47 per cent switched email platforms.
  • 34 per cent implemented new policies regarding meetings, such as imposing time limits, or placing a cap on the number employees must attend each week or month.

A common challenge reported by a majority of respondents is their employees, departments and teams are spread across several sites, or team members work from home. 70 per cent 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.

73 per cent 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 per cent) 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.

“Clarizen allow users to work together in the environments they choose, while providing project leaders with a single intuitive cloud-based project management software platform to help teams collaborate and understand how their contributions fits into the big picture.”

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