The pandemic has characterized before and after in the way we work. Companies have resorted to Messaging platforms and apps Online for meeting meetings and virtually re-establishing office communications. From now on, WhatsApp will stop being just an app for talking and exchanging memes with friends or family, to become it work tool, through which you can send reports, ask a colleague for a document, close a deal or receive a message from the boss, all on mobile. But how well can you work with the constant rumble of notifications?
These tools have instant predictions. Although it is in writing and we can respond to it at another time, a prompt response is usually expected. Force you to be aware. If this happens throughout the day, it prevents you from doing work that requires focus,” says Eva Rimbau-Gilabert, a professor of economics and business studies at the University of Oklahoma and a human resources expert.
Many employees are tired. They have a lot of scattered channels for work and communication
In the study (pdf) for the year 2020 From Work Chaos to Zen: How App Overloading is Redefining the Digital Workplace70% of 2,000 workers surveyed in the US, UK and Australia said the volume of their connections made it difficult to get work done, and more than two-thirds said they lost up to an hour of work per day while switching between apps.
Magdalena Castro Vázquez is a UX Designer and Employee Experience Specialist at Raona, a software development company dedicated to providing a digital workplace, or digital workspace, tailored to each company. Their job is to modify the design of that space to the needs, expectations, and capabilities of the employees. “In our workshops or workshops, we find that many are very exhausted. They have a lot of scattered channels of work and communication,” he points out.
For the expert, “Although remote work has been very positive for many people in various aspects, many of them stated that they find no boundaries between their personal lives and their work.” They feel invaded at home. Receiving business calls and messages while at the gym makes them very anxious, because they feel the need to answer.
The vast majority of the apps we install on our mobile phones and computers, he explains, send us notifications by default. Added to this is “Being a conversationalist, people don’t take the time to think about messages to convey what they need in a concise, short and efficient way, all at once. Instead, anxiety often results in sending twenty messages that can be summed up in just one message. This means That the other person will receive twenty notifications instead of one.
WhatsApp, Slack, Teams…
Are all messaging apps useful for business?
As of May 2020, Microsoft Teams reports 75 million daily active users. Currently, Slack claims to have 8 million, and according to Statista, the number of people using Whatsapp around the world is around 2.4 billion. The study Social media family 2022indicates that the number of users of this application is 35.5 million in Spain.
These types of platforms are not only here to stay but also to replace, in many of their functions, previous means of communication. According to the 2021 National Institute of Statistics survey, among the activities carried out by most of the population between the ages of 16 and 74, the use of this type of instant messaging service (90.2%) already exceeds the use of email (79.1%).
Clara Rowe (31 years old) experienced this digital transformation from a first-person perspective. I worked as a communications specialist in a large company. So far, they’ve used Skype and chat, albeit in a secondary way. With the pandemic, they have installed Microsoft Teams. “The app was installed on my mobile with audio. It was a constant bombardment of messages, even after hours,” says Rowe and adds, “Although it is true that it can distract you when you want to focus on a particular thing, it is also a tool Crucial and very useful because of its immediacy. To talk about things with your team, it ends up replacing mail. It also becomes a channel to chat with your friends within the company while you work. You end up using it for work and personal things.”
With the pandemic, the creation and maintenance of the company’s WhatsApp groups began. The problem is that you can’t tell if the notification you get is from work or your friends.
Although communication and collaboration platforms designed specifically for work environments, such as Teams or Slack, can also end up being used in personal conversations between co-workers, experts agree that they offer more options for setting boundaries than WhatsApp.
“With the pandemic, the creation of the company’s WhatsApp groups has started and has continued until now. The big problem with this app is that you can’t tell if the notification coming to you is from work or your friends. Skip the warning, as you see it, and even if you don’t want to pay attention To him, there is already a burden of work-related stress that does not allow you to disengage from true communication and rest”, says Eva Rimbau-Gillabert and adds: “I would advise against using WhatsApp as a means of communication for work, because when used for personal reasons in a very intense way, it can invade everyday life For workers, especially if it is supposed to be done with personal phones.If a company phone is used, it is easier to turn it off when working hours are over.In addition, there is an additional problem that in WhatsApp you provide personal data, such as your phone number and profile .
Finally, he points out: “If they used their own phone, they would use a different channel, a company channel and a person could close it and not reopen it until they went back to their work day.” On this point, the professor points out that according to the Digital Separation Act, “a company must not only refrain from sending messages or communications outside the working day, but must also have an active policy to promote digital segregation.”
I advise against using WhatsApp at work; It is used a lot for personal reasons, it can invade the daily life of employees
As Magdalena Castro Vázquez points out, platforms designed specifically for the work environment offer “more specific configurations, which allow you to indicate that you are unavailable or out of the office, and you can select the range of hours you want to stop receiving mobile notifications or even see the time difference with other countries to see Whether you write a letter to someone abroad at a reasonable time.”
For her part, Clara Roe agrees: “Teams give you the ability to not answer and let you know that you are busy, in a meeting or making a presentation. It also syncs with your calendar, it’s very smart. All this allows you to better organize the arrival of messages.”
How are limits set when Do Not Disturb is not respected?
While some apps and platforms can do some work, the truth is that many people don’t get hung up on ‘unavailable’ notifications. “There are people who see that you have a group ‘in the meeting’, and they still send you a message that says ‘I see you are in a meeting, but I leave you a few things I want to comment on.’ Often you don’t think about the context of the other or now there is anxiety about The desire to send a message “It was boycotted,” Castro Vazquez says.
Clara Roe remembers receiving and answering Teams messages on her cell phone on the subway or even on the weekends. “I was so addicted to work, I took it home. I got voice notifications activated. It’s not healthy, but I think it’s up to everyone to differentiate their personal phone from a professional phone and set certain limits. If everyone knows you answer after hours, it’s hard,” Although he explains that: “It is also about organizational culture. I have worked in companies that are very toxic in this sense, where it was all yesterday and there were no boundaries between personal and professional, and also in other companies where they were more respectful of your time and sought to balance the Private and professional life.
It is up to each person to differentiate their personal phone from a professional phone and to set certain limits. If everyone knows you answer after hours, that’s hard
“There is a definite part of one, although it also depends on the role. For a person who is just starting out, it will not be easy to restrain his boss,” explains Magdalena Castro Vazquez, although she explains that “it is above all about the culture of the company. There Teams where these things don’t happen because leaders constrain them in a very obvious way and some are not in control. That’s why what we’re doing is trying to standardize these communication channels, reduce emails, encourage people to talk through corporate chat and not through WhatsApp, and all of that Accompanied by a series of workshops. No person can receive a thousand notices and do everything at once. Multitasking is killing employee productivity.”
Eva Rimbau, for her part, agrees: “Businesses need to be well aware that the demand for an automatic or near-instant response, whether through channels like WhatsApp or through meetings, what they do takes time away from the factor so they can move forward with more tasks. A complexity of intellectual effort which, perhaps, in the depths of itself, is where it contributes more value.”
“Beeraholic. Friend of animals everywhere. Evil web scholar. Zombie maven.”