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Mind the Communications Gap: Loom

Ineffective and overcommunication plaguing workforce; excess time spent communicating is costing companies $21 billion per week

The average worker spends 3 hours and 43 minutes a day communicating via emails, messaging, video or phone calls — a whopping 252 million combined hours every single day. This is costing companies over $21 billion per week. While 88% of office workers have preferences about how they communicate at work, 83% say they cater to others’ communications preferences and 42% say nobody has ever asked them what their communications preferences are. This is according to a new report from Loom, the asynchronous video messaging platform for modern work.

The report, “Mind the Communications Gap”, which polled 1,500 adults in the U.S. who work full-time in a desk job setting, delves into the growing communication gap in a distributed workplace, especially as companies have more employees back in the office. The survey data shows growing communication redundancies among office workers, underscoring a massive opportunity for business leaders to increase productivity, morale, and resource efficiency with effective communication tools.

The survey data also sheds light on how employees really feel about AI supported communication in the workplace, with half (50%) of American workers saying they would feel comfortable using AI to improve or supplement their workplace communication. For those concerned about AI being used in workplace communication, 38% worry that conversations would be less authentic, and 30% say they would be concerned to know if they would actually be communicating with their coworker.

To learn more about this survey, view the full report here. Some highlights include:

  • 31% of employees struggle to find time to work because of constant interruptions
  • 85% of employees are sending the same messages or information multiple times or in multiple places at least weekly — 69% do so every day
  • The reasons for redundancy vary: Some workers who double up on messages do so to create a trail of accountability (51%), some want to make sure their message is visible to more people (50%) and others say it’s to make sure they accommodate the recipient’s preference (38%)

Speaking of Inclusivity
An increasing number of organizations are trying to let employees communicate in the way that works best for them, the reality is that most people feel they’re still bending over backward to work within their colleagues’ preferences. This leads to more wasted hours and lost dollars across the board.

  • 88% of employees have preferences about how they communicate at work
  • Half (49%) of employees say using their preferred communication methods at work makes them feel more productive
  • 74% of workers say companies need to recognize that everyone has a different personality and style of communicating and to make more efforts to be inclusive
  • 45% of employees say that companies should let their employees be themselves at work, rather than require them to adhere to certain standards of professionalism

Work Jargon, In Real Life
For 77% of workers, common workplace jargon has snuck into their personal vernacular.

  • 48% of employees have used “following up” when communicating with friends or family
  • 43% have used “touch base”
  • 29% have used “circle back”
  • 21% have talked about their “bandwidth”
  • 20% have “flagged” something
  • 20% have had a “one-off”

Office workers are under the “Slack-Fluence”
Duplicating messages for visibility or bending to others’ communications preferences is causing many employees needless stress.

  • 31% of employees have “Slacked” or used workplace messaging while driving
  • 31% have also used workplace messaging on the toilet, and 14% have done so on a date
  • 45% of employees say communicating is the most mentally taxing part of their job
  • 55% need a mental break in the workday because of communication stress

Anxiously Awaiting
Common features of communications tools — like seeing […] when someone is typing a message, or seeing a notification when someone has read a message — may hamper employee productivity, and actually cause more stress.

  • 78% of employees say that when they notice a coworker typing a message, they become unproductive, either stopping all work and waiting or checking back every few minutes, unable to focus on a task
  • 21% say that when they notice a coworker typing a message, they get annoyed that someone is typing slowly
  • Including “read receipts,” or notices that the recipient has seen your message, causes anxiety for employees (54%)

Loom conducted this research using an online survey prepared by Method Research and distributed by RepData among n=1,500 adults 18+ in the United States. All respondents work full-time in a desk job setting, with a subset of n=500 whose title is manager or above and works in the technology industry leading remote/hybrid teams at companies between 50-1000 employees. The sample was equally split between gender groups, including representative age groupings and a geographic spread of respondents. Data was collected from January 27 to February 7, 2023.

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