Instant exchange software like Messenger, Dropbox, Skype or Exchange, overwhelm employees with information, increasing anxiety levels, according to a recent study
A new study from Luxembourg has found that some software programmes intended to improve business communications can actually have a negative impact on employee motivation and lower productivity.
According to the findings of the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research, reported by Paperjam, instant exchange software like Messenger, Dropbox, Skype or Exchange, overwhelm employees with information, increasing anxiety levels.
Information overload is an increasingly widespread phenomenon, which is pushing the Luxembourg trade unions to call for the right to disconnect after work hours, a right that has been enshrined in law in France since 2017.
In contrast, “out of sync” information technologies reduce the feeling of needing to be available at all times and were found to improve motivation. “If the employer puts pressure on the individual by constantly showing him that others are working and indirectly encouraging him to be more responsive, the workflow software and the intranet increase the interest of the employee for his work”, explained research author Ludivine Martin.
Nevertheless, some IT tools, like professional email, are indispensable today. According to provisional results of another Liser study, email has a beneficial impact on the motivation of employees when it is used in moderation. However, intensive use has the effect of reducing productivity and the autonomy of the employee.
The study found the employee would be more inclined to leave decisions to higher levels of management. This is particularly the case when too many people are put in copy of email exchanges. For communication on specific projects, the report recommends companies use workflow software.
“The digitalisation of the work environment has a direct impact on how a company functions and it is important to be aware of it,” Martin said, adding: “Leaders are increasingly interested in the effect of artificial intelligence on work, but we must not forget that digitisation has existed for a long time and also affects workers.”
As Luxembourg’s economy undergoes a digital revolution, Liser plans to study to study its impact on labour and employment. Several studies and experiments are under way or will be launched in the coming months, particularly on the increasingly widespread phenomenon of hyperconnectivity.