Analysis paralysis is a significant issue in the modern world.
What Is Analysis Paralysis?
The term first emerged when Barry Schwartz (a psychologist) introduced the concept of the ‘Paradox of Choice’. According to Schwartz, more options often lead to more confusion, indecision, and anxiety among human beings.
For years, the concept of analysis paralysis has been applied to consumer decision making, and the importance of being able to simplify the path to purchase. However, analysis paralysis isn’t just a problem facing modern consumers – it can also impact the workforce too.
Just like your customers, employees in the modern workplace can often feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data they have access to, and the multitude of tools they have to leverage that information. This issue has grown even more significant in the world of hybrid work, where staff are dealing with increasingly complicated workflows, disjointed communication, and a range of software tools.
So, how do we address the issue of analysis paralysis in this new landscape?
Analysis Paralysis and the New Workplace
The hybrid working model is considered by many to be the ultimate solution for the ‘return to work’. It provides companies with access to the perfect combination of in-office and remote working benefits. On the one hand, you have remote work, where employees can achieve better levels of productivity and improved work/life balance, while companies benefit from smaller overheads.
On the other hand, hybrid work also allows for the maintenance of the ‘traditional’ office space, where teams can come together to collaborate in person, maintain strong workplace connections, and drive improved company culture.
Unfortunately, there are downsides to hybrid work too, particularly during these early stages of evolution. As companies attempt to build the perfect hybrid working landscape, many are dealing with multiple overlapping tools, disjointed communication, and imperfect strategies for collaboration.
Dozens of crucial tools, collaboration systems, analytics services, and sources of information working together at once creates confusion, inconsistency, and ultimately, analysis paralysis. Even before the pandemic, the average knowledge worker spent around 30% of their workday searching for information.
With many companies now using four to seven collaboration tools on average, not to mention a host of other applications, that percentage could grow even further.
Why Is Analysis Paralysis a Productivity Problem?
On its own, disjointed information in the workplace has a lot of potential problems associated with it, from issues with compliance to the risk of poor data storage.
However, when this disjointed information also leads to analysis paralysis, it has a direct impact on your team’s ability to thrive. In an environment where employees are under more pressure than ever, companies need to find a solution. Studies consistently show that high-pressure and anxiety-provoking situations lead to lower performance on mentally demanding tasks.
The more your employee has to search through various apps, tools, and piles of data to find what they need, the more likely your company is to struggle with:
1. Lost Productivity
Analysis paralysis often stops employees from performing well, by forcing them to spend too much time over-thinking each step of their strategy.
2. Reduced Creativity
Struggling to access the right information in a consumable manner means employees have a harder time thinking outside of the box.
3. Lack of Engagement
The more stressed your employees are by issues of analysis paralysis, the more likely they are to lose interest in working for your company.
All of these repercussions also lead to another problem: poor customer experience. Unproductive, uncreative, and disengaged employees can’t give your customers the amazing experiences they deserve.
Overcoming Analysis Paralysis
Beating analysis paralysis in the age of hybrid work is easier than it seems.
To start, companies need to conduct an audit of their technology. Find out what kind of tools your teams are using for collaboration, customer service, project management and more, and try to align them in the same environment as much as possible. The fewer people you have working in different environments, the smoother the flow of information will be for your team.
Once you’ve reduced the unnecessary information silos in your company, you can begin to focus on getting the right information to your employees in the right format. Dashboard and wallboard technology that allows companies to monitor critical metrics in real-time gives them more control on the information their employees see.
You can build entire agent dashboards featuring only the KPIs most important to your agents and have separate boards for supervisor and manager analysis. This means that each user has instant access to the information they need, without the extra clutter.
A Long-Term Strategy for Productivity
Overcoming analysis paralysis and learning how to use analytics to your advantage is how modern companies ensure they’re delivering the meaningful experiences their customers are looking for. While analysis should always be a crucial part of the business journey, you should ensure you’re analysing information the right way.
1. Provide Agents With Relevant Information
Avoid information overload by building specific informational dashboards for your agents, supervisors, and other members of your team. For any information your agents don’t need instantly, create a knowledge base that’s easy to search through. You could even use virtual agents to help agents surface crucial data.
2. Use Data for Decision Making
Use the long-term data your company collects to predict potential trends in customer demand, service patterns, and more. This will help you to prepare for any potential issues that might affect your team’s productivity.
3. Provide Training
Ensure employees in all environments (remote and in the office) have access to the right training, guidance, and support to help them make decisions at speed. Create policies and procedures for team members to follow when dealing with complicated issues, so they spend less time wondering ‘what next?’.
4. Encourage Agility
Encourage team members to make agile decisions by training them on team best practices and using gamification. Competitions based around crucial customer service KPIs can motivate and engage employees, while simultaneously preventing them from moving too slowly when making decisions.
5. Respond Quickly to Problems
As you continue to develop your hybrid workplace, keep an eye on areas where your employees seem to struggle with information overload, analysis paralysis, or even just limited access to information. Gathering feedback from team members will help you to optimise as you go.
Keep Your Team Moving Forward
Analysis paralysis is a growing issue in the hybrid workplace. As companies everywhere attempt to adapt to a new age of hybrid and remote working, it’s crucial to ensure your team is leveraging data as effectively as possible.