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App Notifications May Be Stopping Us from Working Better

Work-from-home drowns us in more notifications

App Notifications May Be Stopping Us from Working Better
App notifications

Work-from-home drowns us in more notifications

The Future. Our always-connected lifestyle and new work-from-home arrangements have led to endless notifications and emails that blur the line between the professional and personal. As “office” perks continue to evolve, pockets of time away from the endless ding of a phone or computer may become an important way to recruit top talent.

Push and pull
In the modern work-from-home world, it may be impossible to go a single hour without a barrage of notifications.

  • Dr. Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, found that the average worker switches screens to check notifications 566 times a day.
  • Half of the time, it’s because people are interrupted by notifications, while the other half is because people are picking up their phones to mindlessly scroll.
  • While picking up the phone can be a good break during the day (but don’t doomscroll), external notifications are terrible for focus and productivity.
  • Dr. Mark’s studies found that it takes an average of 25 minutes to get back on track with our original task after being interrupted by a notification.

Worse yet, our heart rate increases when we get notifications, showing that there’s a “fight-or-flight” response to those dings, buzzes, and door knocks (for those of us that use Slack).

Information overload
So, what is someone to do with all those notifications?

  • Apple’s new Focus mode can control the number of notifications coming in.
  • Email platforms like Buffer and Gmail can be programmed to sort emails (and their accompanying notifications) in customized preferences.
  • Apps like Brick can help people digitally detox over a day in order to reset from notification overload.

But the responsibility may be on employers to dictate notification “quiet times” if they hope their employees can get deeper work done.