Digital fatigue: how to keep your teams engaged and productive

Emotional burnout. Lack of inspiration. Tiredness, overworked, fatigue. Exhausted office worker cartoon character sitting at workplace with computer. Vector isolated concept metaphor illustration

Digital transformation is shaking up businesses. The adoption of digital tools is accelerating. Against this backdrop, employees are constantly having to adapt to new software. As a result, they are subject to a growing information and cognitive load. This intellectual overload has a name: digital fatigue.

This silent epidemic has a cost for companies. So how can companies combat this disease of the century? In this article, we’ll look at the solutions that exist to ensure the well-being of employees in the digital age.

What is digital fatigue?

Digital fatigue is defined as physical and mental exhaustion linked to excessive exposure to digital technologies (screens, computers, etc.). In concrete terms, it occurs when an individual makes intensive use of technological tools in their work or personal life.

This excessive interaction with machines leads to cognitive saturation. The brain has to constantly receive and process multiple pieces of information, which overwhelms it. The result is a feeling of overwhelm and an inability to absorb new data.

Digital fatigue has various symptoms. These include problems with concentration or memory, irritability, headaches, hypersensitivity to noise, anxiety, sleep problems and reduced motivation. Eventually, these symptoms can lead to burn-out.

For companies, this phenomenon has a negative impact on employee productivity and creativity. When employees are burnt out, they make more mistakes, find it harder to take decisions or come up with innovative ideas.

Digital fatigue also affects social interaction within teams. Exhausted individuals communicate less, isolate themselves or become irritable. This undermines cohesion and collective effectiveness.

As a result, this silent evil is undermining employee performance, degrading the working atmosphere and can even lead to burn-out. So the stakes are high for human resources departments.

What are the solutions to digital fatigue?

Streamline workflows

Constantly switching between email and videoconferencing software, storage space and office suites… This fragmentation of software uses up a lot of mental energy.

So it makes sense to rationalise digital work environments to avoid digital fatigue. How can we do this? By adopting “all-in-one” solutions that centralise several functions.

Take Microsoft 365, for example. This suite brings together email, video conferencing, file storage and the Office suite in one place. In concrete terms, a sales representative can directly place a Teams call to a customer from Outlook without changing the interface. Or instantly share a Word document stored on OneDrive during a Teams meeting.

This type of facilitating hub makes day-to-day digital interactions on screens more fluid. No more time-consuming toggling back and forth between email, cloud storage, spreadsheets and so on. Everything is interconnected within a unified ecosystem.

This software convergence offers a number of benefits in terms of productivity and digital fatigue:

  • Time savings thanks to optimised workflows;
  • Reduced cognitive load linked to the switching context;
  • Enhanced cross-functional collaboration;
  • Limitation of application silos.

Of course, this kind of global solution requires support for teams in terms of adoption. Training and change management are essential to ensure a smooth transition to these new working environments.

Improving the employee experience

Certain key moments in employees’ careers expose them more than usual to the risk of digital fatigue. This is the case when taking up a new post (onboarding) or when implementing new digital tools (change management).

During these critical phases, employees have to assimilate a lot of information about the company and master new software solutions. This intense cognitive load can quickly become overwhelming, especially when teleworking.

So it’s vital to adopt the right reflexes to successfully integrate new employees and support teams through the digital transformation process.

As far as onboarding is concerned, it is advisable to focus on a precise digital pathway: targeted training materials, intuitive virtual tours of the premises, e-learning modules adapted to the pace of each individual, etc.

As far as change management is concerned, IT departments are well advised to involve their staff upstream and provide them with in-depth training in the new tools.

Furthermore, in both cases, it is a good idea to appoint field representatives who can provide day-to-day support to employees. These facilitators make it easier to adopt the solutions and point out the sticking points that need to be dealt with as a priority in order to prevent any potential digital fatigue.

By taking care of employees during these sensitive phases, businesses can effectively prevent the risk of digital burnout. They also lay the foundations for more collaborative, creative and fulfilling work.

Thanks to its innovative K-NOW and K-STUDIO platforms, which combine learning and training on a daily basis, Knowmore ensures that digital solutions are adopted by users over the long term!

Investing in corporate culture

By isolating teams, teleworking can increase stress and anxiety among employees. In the long run, these negative effects can lead to digital fatigue among employees.

So it’s vital to foster a sense of belonging within the company. How can this be done? By setting up virtual rituals within departments:

  • Organise an informal video briefing every Monday morning to allow everyone to share their weekend.
  • Set up an instant chat channel so that employees can exchange ideas easily on a daily basis.
  • Set up a monthly video meeting with the manager to take stock of everyone’s feelings.
  • Offer regular team-building activities (without screens!) to strengthen the cohesion of dispersed teams: afterworks, yoga, culinary challenges, etc.

Finally, it is just as important to monitor the digital adoption of applications in order to understand how employees are really using them.

Digital fatigue, resulting from excessive interaction with screens, compromises business productivity. Despite this, solutions are available to optimise working environments, support employees and strengthen team cohesion. Beyond these measures, the preservation of spaces conducive to slowness and reflection is a crucial necessity to counter the harmful effects of omnipresent urgency and information overload. By adopting these approaches, businesses can mitigate the impact of digital fatigue and foster a more balanced and resilient working environment.

Eliminate digital fatigue by boosting the adoption of your business applications!

Faced with the growing challenges of digital fatigue, it is essential for companies to rely on the right partners. Knowmore is an expert in the digital adoption of business and collaborative applications, helping IT and HR departments to manage change.

Thanks to its innovative platforms combining learning and day-to-day training, Knowmore ensures that users adopt digital solutions over the long term. This helps to streamline workflows, unite dispersed teams and, ultimately, boost productivity and employee well-being.

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