SOURCE: Highfive

Highfive

September 24, 2015 13:22 ET

Communication and Productivity Are on the Rise -- But the Same Tools Are Pulling Our Attention Away From Work

Highfive Explores the Impact of Today's Connected Office on Workplace Productivity and Happiness in Inaugural "Workplace Culture and Communication Report"

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Sep 24, 2015) - Highfive, the all-in-one video conferencing system that's changing how people communicate at work, today announced the results of its annual 2015 Workplace Culture and Communication Report. The study, in its inaugural year, details how the proliferation of communication tools impacts the way people work and engage with their fellow employees.

More than 1,200 professionals in traditional office settings across industries and regions completed the survey in August 2015. The good news? Employees generally like who they work with. The bad news? They are highly distracted and struggling to overcome generational and gender differences in the workplace.

"We're seeing that while today's technology is connecting us in more ways than ever before, it's also pulling us apart, often redirecting our attention away from the task at hand," said Shan Sinha, co-founder and CEO of Highfive. "As businesses continue to grow and adopt new technologies, they face the challenge of balancing productivity and distraction. The insights from our dataset show what tools and environments best keep employees both happy and productive -- and ultimately build great culture in the modern workplace."

Meeting Distractions Aren't Just Anecdotal

Although advances in technology are helping to connect remote employees and offices and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity is on the rise, workers are dealing with more distractions than ever before. The 2015 Workplace Culture and Communication Report highlights the disconnect: 49 percent of workers say it's okay to multitask in a meeting, but 45 percent state that their biggest problem with meetings is that participants aren't paying attention.

Some demographic groups -- notably, men and millennials -- are more susceptible to workplace diversions. More than half (54 percent) of millennials regularly do unrelated tasks while on conference calls, and 45 percent check their phones during in-person meetings. Even outside of meetings, millennials are more likely than others to use work time for personal reasons -- 25 percent have taken to a conference room to vent to others.

Additionally, men tend to lack focus in the workplace more than women. 69 percent of men admit to engaging in non-work activities in meetings -- including everything from taking selfies to checking fantasy sports and sending personal emails. Men also send an average of 5.94 electronic messages during meetings, while women send 3.70.

Employers improve productivity and keep workers connected with tactics varying from blocking access to specific websites (27 percent) to work-from-home days (24 percent) to adding productivity tools to reduce email/meeting volume (15 percent). However, despite new tools and products being introduced every day, none have been able to strike the correct balance: allowing workers to communicate easily but stay focused on the task at hand.

The Silver Lining: People Actually Like Their Coworkers

Despite the distractions, though, there is a silver lining. Today's workers are happy and communicating in more ways than ever before -- even with a more globally dispersed workforce. 65 percent of workers under the age of 44 now work remotely, with a fairly even spread across all sizes of businesses. With technology facilitating easier communication across long distances, 81 percent of people like their coworkers and enjoy their company.

Along with workers enjoying spending time together, 64 percent of employees prefer in-person meetings to alternatives like email, instant message or conference calls. They're also more likely to pay attention to their colleagues when in person: currently, people are 45 percent more likely to focus during an in-person meeting than on a conference call. In fact, half of all workers (and 66 percent of remote workers) would remove conference calls from their lives entirely if possible. It's evident that conference calls, though ubiquitous, are not fulfilling our need for face-to-face communication.

What It Means for Businesses Today

It's clear that today's connected office environment has an impact on not only workplace communication, but also overall productivity and happiness. Over 45 percent of workers say the biggest problem with meetings is that participants aren't paying attention. 15 percent of employers are using productivity tools for better communication, but they aren't delivering on those promises. No matter where we are, one thing is clear -- a lot more than work is happening at the office.

For more information and to download the full "Workplace Culture and Communication Report," visit [https://highfive.com/resources/workplace-culture-communication-report-2015].

About This Survey
On behalf of Highfive, the polling company inc./WomanTrend conducted a nationwide online survey among 1,200 employed office workers. Qualified participants were screened to ensure they were currently employed and that they spent most of their time at work in a traditional office setting. The survey was fielded consecutively from August 10-16, 2015. The survey measured responses from workers across the nation from a variety of industries and professions. The questionnaire contained 60 inquiries in total, including 10 demographic questions. Survey topics explored the tendencies and attitudes among the contemporary workforce, especially with regards to communication tools used to connect with co-workers and the adoption of video conferencing.

About Highfive
Highfive makes video conferencing simple. Highfive's all-in-one system delivers high-quality enterprise video conferencing to any size conference room at 1/20th the cost of traditional products. Highfive also provides web conferencing and screen sharing functionality for personal devices, giving anyone the ability to make one-click video calls and share their screens from their laptops, tablets and mobile devices. Highfive is based in Redwood City, CA.