Communication overload

Communication overload: The addiction of staying in touch.


Does your team type text messages on their blackberries while contributing to meetings? Do they talk on their phones while answering emails? While it’s becoming the norm to celebrate multitasking, there are indications that it is driving higher levels of stress.

Employees who suffer from communication overload tend to have higher levels of stress, have difficulty focusing and are more impatient. A study commissioned by Siemens to determine whether new technologies had changed patterns of acceptable business etiquette. It uncovered rising levels of SAD- stressed, angry and distracted- work force. There is a growing resentment of “communication intrusion:- being constantly contacted by others for help with theirs while trying to finish their own. Another British study found that excessive use of technology- including emails and cell phones- can be more distracting and harmful to the IQ than smoking marijuana.

The research conducted by HP by scientists from the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London waned about the “abuse of always-on-technology” causing workers to be literally addicted to checking email during meetings, in the evening and weekends.


Answers to overload

The answer to communication overload isn’t to multitask. You may think you are getting more done but you may not be doing a good job at anyone of them and this will reduce your overall productivity. Communication overload will break employees down if they don’t take control.


Choose one device

Consolidate your communication into one device- email, voice mail and other forms of communication. Decide which device is most useful. You will save time by not having to constantly check multiple media.


Set times for communication

Work towards consolidating communication activities. Set aside some time to check email and respond to voice mails. This will reduce interruptions and strengthen a focus on tasks at hand.


Do one thing at one time

Tasks that require focus must be done one at a time. Don’t check email while answering the phone. Constant interruptions at meetings are distracting and disruptive. They erode a focus on tasks at hand and make entire teams less productive.

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