Business tech leaves employees frustrated

A fifth of employees within large businesses more frustrated with business applications than they were pre-pandemic.

New data has found that a fifth of employees within large businesses are now more frustrated with business applications than they were pre-pandemic. It comes as 76 per cent of workers admit they are spending up to six hours of their working day using software such as Microsoft Office, Zoom, Workday and Salesforce.

The data comes from a YouGov survey of over 2,000 employees based in Great Britain, which examined their use and experience of business software since March 2020. It forms the basis of a new report into how the online working world has been shaped over the course of the last 20 months, The Hidden Cost of the Digital Employee Experience, from digital adoption specialists AppLearn.

With remote and hybrid working now the norm for many companies as a result of the pandemic, the research suggests tech frustrations could be responsible for a significant loss of time and productivity. With different applications having various routes to accessing support, 39 per cent of employees who use business applications daily believe they are spending up to 30 minutes a day looking for this support – more than three working weeks a year.

A sample of 1m users from AppLearn’s digital adoption platform (software that layers over other applications to provide end users with in-app support) backs up this picture of the digital employee experience. In fact, the platform’s analytics revealed that on average employees spend 2.7 hours per week looking for support materials, such as helpdesks, FAQs and chatbots, but only 1.5 hours per week reading them. It means employees are spending twice as much time looking for support materials as they do actually consuming them.

Furthermore, employees are spending 3 hours per week simply trying to find tasks, related information or help within an application – a problem termed ‘navigation burn’.*

With global IT spend expected to reach $4trillon this year**, AppLearn’s research highlights that as businesses invest in new technologies, the impact on the employee experience cannot be forgotten.

Andrew Avanessian, CEO at AppLearn commented: “Businesses have experienced digital transformation on a level that’s never been seen before. While in many cases that deserves to be applauded, it’s clear that the quick decisions taken to survive the switch to home working are having a significant impact on employees, with this uptick in frustration levels particularly concerning.

“By asking employees about their experience and looking at what the analytics tells us, we have built a picture of employees grappling with an increasingly complex digital experience, losing time searching for support or navigating to tasks – it’s no surprise, therefore, to see frustration is on the rise across the board. If businesses fail to rectify this issue, by both improving the tech experience and employee engagement, they risk this frustration continuing to rise. It could leave employees feeling increasingly unhappy and demotivated at work - sentiment that will almost certainly impact the bottom line.

“Businesses need to be more honest in their assessment as to whether their tech investments are paying off, and the employee experience should be central to this. That means gaining a true understanding of their people’s day-to-day interactions with applications, identifying the gaps and areas of friction, then putting interventions in place to address them. The pay back from doing this would be significant for employer and employee alike.”

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