Trending: The Simplification of Work

workinghomeFor most of us, information overload has become a way of life. We’re not only expected to do our jobs, but to also sort through, comprehend, and prioritize the unending (and constantly changing) barrage of information throughout the workday and beyond.

But the human brain can only handle so much at once, and, consequently, “information overload” has become epidemic. PC Magazine describes this as: “A symptom of the high-tech age, which is too much information for one person to absorb in an expanding world of technology. It comes from all sources including TV, newspapers, magazines as well as wanted and unwanted regular mail, e-mail, text messages, phone solicitations and much more. It has been exacerbated enormously due to the formidable amount of information sources, number of blogs and search engine results.”

When it comes to the workplace, information overload has been proven to decrease productivity, as workers spend too much time managing info and not enough time fulfilling job requirements.

So the logical thing, some believe, would be to limit our exposure, including the “24/7” mentality. As a result, there’s been a new call to arms: Keep It Simple. According to Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2015, there’s been a: simplification of work, and, on a positive note, “…technology and design thinking are converging in a way that offers significant opportunities to get ahead of the curve. Business and HR leaders should put ‘simplification’ on the agenda for 2015 and focus on individual, organizational, and work-specific programs that reduce complexity and help people focus on what really matters.”

The report mentions some helpful ways organizations can start to simplify:

Make simplification a business and HR priority: Create a team focused on simplifying the workplace. Ask employees about time wasting/complex processes, and develop a business case. Ensure that HR is involved in any discussions of simplifying work.

Get email and unproductive meetings under control: Minimizing certain things gives employees a more relaxed environment in which to think. To increase productivity, employees should avoid using their phones for email at night.

Invest in more integrated, simpler technology: Major technology vendors (including SAP and Oracle) now have programs to simplify their applications and tools.

Implement design thinking and process simplification within HR. Design thinking brings user interface designers, process experts, and graphics people together to make work systems more functional and easy to use. HR should be used as a role model by removing steps and helping implement “just enough” process and technology to help people get the job done.