Messenger applications have been recognized as “the best collaboration tool” for their quick and easy collaboration setup. Yet they have been found to be the main cause of wasted time that hinders workers from concentrating on work.
According to reports from McKinsey and the Korea Productivity Center, typical office workers spend an average of 2.2 hours on checking their e-mail and responding to messenger messages during their business hours. It is equivalent to 27.5 percent of a typical 8-hour workday. Considering that messenger work orders can come anytime, it would interrupt workflows throughout the duty hours.
The actual amount of time wasted by workers due to interruptions is beyond expectations. Hackernoon, a website for IT engineers, conducted a survey on 4,000 high-performance employees (HPEs) in 2017. According to the report, the average amount of time a worker wastes due to work hindrances is 2 hours and 18 minutes a day, and when calculated on a yearly basis, it is equivalent to 600 hours (75 days). Considering that the average hourly wage of HPEs in the U.S. is $53, the annual loss per capita is $31,800 (approximately 35 million won), and if a company has 40 HPEs, the loss would reach $1,250,000 (approximately 1.4 billion won).
Work interruptions have been found to affect the work performance of workers as well. Studies on changes in cognitive ability due to work disruptions, including the “Interruptions to workflow: Their relationship with irritation and satisfaction with performance, and the mediating roles of time pressure and mental demands,” a paper published by Anja Baethge, a professor of psychology at University of Leipzig, Germany in 2013, confirm that people who are disturbed have more than twice the rate of work mistakes, nervous and irritated reactions, compared to people who are not disturbed. It has also been found that it takes up to 27% more time for disturbed workers to complete an existing task.
As the side effects of messenger programs are highlighted, some companies restrict the use of messengers to “temporary discussions only,” or set specific time zones for concentration on work to prevent 'messenger pollution.' In addition, some are moving away from messenger-centric collaboration tools toward more collaborative tools that match with the workflow of their workers. For this reason, third-generation collaboration solutions, the so-called issue-based collaboration tools, are attracting attention.
“Collabee,” the most well-known issue-based collaborative tool, supports file sharing and communication functions just as the existing collaboration tools do, but it displays a user-oriented user interface (UI) in a real-time collaborative environment. When one of the members creates a 'project space' for collaborative work, anyone who is invited to this space can write and directly comment on the written articles, including assigning specific tasks, requesting decisions. All articles, materials, and requests can be viewed through your own news feed or easily viewed through the Kanban view, which is sorted by progress. Especially since it supports both PC and Android as well as iOS, users can cope with collaborative situations regardless of time and place.
An industry official said, "Many companies are wondering how to guarantee their rights not to be disturbed at times other than the business hours, but what is important is that they should not be disturbed during the duty hours to improve work performance and reduce overtime work. It is important to build a new collaborative environment that allows workers to concentrate on their work without being disturbed. Building such an environment becomes more complicated when there are a structure of disturbances and an unrealistic collaboration flow.