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Productivity Software Overload Is Killing Workers’ Productivity

By 11th June 2021June 24th, 2021Blog3 min read

In an ironic twist, an overload of productive software rolled out for remote working has killing workers’ productivity, according to research conducted by Cornell University’s Ellis Idea Lab researchers.

Tech Republic reports that Cornell researchers teamed up with digital work hub Qatalog to study how people manage, access, share, and create knowledge at work, revealing that workers are wasting 59 minutes per day trying to find information hidden in different apps and tools.

As the lockdown measures were introduced and workers moved to work from home, newly remote teams rushed to adopt software and tools to help teams stay connected and work more efficiently from home.

However, these apps have failed to deliver on their promise, and are making things more difficult for home workers.

The explosion of apps and software has overloaded employees with information, leading to confusion, mistakes and time wasted:

  • Employees are wasting 59 minutes every day trying to find information hidden within different apps.
  • There are too many tools, as 43 per cent said they spend too much time each day switching between different work software, and 45 per cent said the back-and-forth makes them less productive.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 workers — 48 per cent — said they are making mistakes at work because they can’t keep track of what’s going on across all their employers’ different digital tools.
  • Trying to track what work has been done is difficult, as 44 per cent said siloed digital tools make it hard to know whether work is being duplicated by their colleagues.


While each app will have its individual merits, but different software tools are combining to create a chaotic and fragmented digital working environment.

Over half of the respondents to the Cornell/Qatalog survey, 54 per cent, claimed that many of the applications can often make it harder to find the right information, and 58 per cent said that they were unsure if all the relevant departments used the same software and online tools.

Nearly half of respondents, 49 per cent, were concerned that important information will get lost and that information will not reach the intended audience.

The trouble is because many of these tools are designed to solve a single problem, but not built to work with other apps and platforms.

Tariq Rauf, the CEO and founder of Qatalog, said: “here’s been an explosion in the number of apps we rely on to do our jobs, but the result isn’t greater productivity — it’s total chaos. No matter their individual merits, each tool is adding to a noisy digital environment that is, quite literally, driving workers to distraction.”

“We deserve better,” he added.

The research team at Cornell University’s Ellis Idea Lab conducted three extensive surveys (1,000 participants per survey) to gather data, following the Gallup poll model, on March 31, 2021. Participants were based in the US and UK, working remotely, and familiar with modern software applications in the workplace.


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