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Notification overload is majorly harming UK workers

(Image credit: Image Credit: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock)

Having more applications and communications tools doesn’t necessarily mean being more productive in the workplace, or at home - and in fact can actually mean the exact opposite for many UK workers. 

A report from software firm Advanced, based on a poll of just above 1,000 employees, has found that two-thirds (68 percent) get so many notifications and messages during the day that it hurts their productivity. 

As a matter of fact - almost a quarter (22 percent) get distracted so much that they never spend an entire day on actual work, especially if they're working from home.

“Spinning multiple plates at once may seem to be a good way to get a lot of things done quickly,” says Gordon Wilson, CEO at Advanced. 

“However, our cognitive ability is in fact impaired as our brains can’t handle the constant switching from one focus to the next very well. This consequently causes confusion and affects people’s ability to focus. Throw home working into the mix – where there are distractions like answering the door and household chores – and it can become incredibly hard for people to work efficiently during working hours.”  

Drilling deeper into the apps that make most of the problems, Advanced stumbled upon the usual suspects - instant messaging apps, collaboration apps, and email. A quarter (26 percent) actually turn their email off for at least an hour, every day, to be able to focus on urgent work. Some, due to constant distractions, end up working late, or even working while on sick leave.

For Gordon, unless managers “set boundaries between working and personal hours”, it’s only a matter of time before remote workers start feeling isolated, overworked and unappreciated, and it takes a toll on their productivity.

“This is a great time to consider introducing new initiatives, like Friday afternoons off, or even following the footsteps of Bumble which last month said it was giving all of its staff a week off, with full pay and the instruction to fully switch off, to counter what it described as ‘collective burnout’,” he concluded.