My Top Tips for Avoiding Collaboration Overload
Yes, collaboration overload is a thing and it’s severely impacting our productivity.
Collaboration overload is a relatively new phenomenon that’s become more prevalent in the era of remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s defined as:
“the point where individuals spend so much time assisting their colleagues or engaging in collaborative activities that they are not left with enough time to complete their tasks.” — NTask
Publications like Harvard Business Review and McKinsey are saying it’s sinking productivity and leading to increased stress levels and burnout in employees.
Anyone that has a desk job is probably already thinking about all the collaboration tools they use from day to day:
- Microsoft Teams
While email has been around for a while, video conferencing and instant messaging apps have increased in popularity over the last decade as a way to make collaboration easier amongst employees in different geo-locations.
Then, when the pandemic happened, it became the only way to keep in touch with colleagues we used to work next to every day. We went from being able to swivel our chair and say, “Hey, got a minute?”, to having to resort to email if the company didn't have a tool like Teams or Slack implemented.
Now, two years since the start of COVID-19, we’re experts in working from home, but we aren’t experts in controlling the collaboration overload that comes with the constant stream of email, IMs, and ad-hoc meetings.
Some argue that IM conversations and ad-hoc phone calls have replaced coffee breaks and watercooler chats, but we still take breaks. I don’t know about you, but I still take a half hour to go make lunch, sometimes taking my full hour to run errands, and take small breaks throughout the day to switch out a load of laundry or go brew my afternoon cup of coffee.
While these collaboration tools have enabled companies to survive having most, if not all, of their workforce remote, they’ve significantly impacted…