How the Personalization of Enterprise Apps Results in More Effective Workplaces

01/31/2017 12:51 pm ET

Struggling with work-life balance is common. Learn how app personalization can help employees with effectiveness and improve their processes simultaneously.

The anywhere workplace has blurred the lines between work and personal time to the point that many employees expect to be able to work from the location of their choice on their choice of device at any time of day. But not everyone is thrilled about being constantly connected to work.

While the ability to work anytime, anywhere might seem like a ticket to success for some, others may see it as the road to burnout. Either way, it inevitably raises some questions: Will I be expected to work more? Will I have a harder time unplugging?

Despite these concerns, 8 in 10 U.S. employees are optimistic about staying connected to work outside of business hours. They see the benefits of being able to work when and where it’s convenient for them, carving out brief bursts of productivity while riding the bus or standing in line in the supermarket. After all, most of us pull out our cell phones when we’re bored. Why not get a little work done?

“Clever employers, keen to make the most of our habit of obsessively tapping on our phones every second we don't have anything to do, are now providing employees with task-specific apps that let us do work from anywhere,” says technology writer Christer Holloman. “This is enabling a whole new way of working by offering up so-called micro-moments of productivity.”

Personalized, task-specific enterprise apps enable these micro-moments by curating an individual data stream based on the employee’s job needs, then delivering it in the form of actionable tasks. The employee receives a push notification on whatever device they’re using and can complete the task right then and there before moving seamlessly on with their day.

With personalized apps, companies can drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to perform routine tasks, allowing employees to get more done in less time. For example, one company was able to cut down the length of its sales quote approval process from five hours to just 22 minutes.

Rather than working more, micro apps equip employees with tools that keep their jobs from expanding beyond their normal working hours. Of employees who are constantly connected, just over a third frequently work after hours. The rest do it only occasionally, if ever.

Reclaiming your time with personalization

Personalized apps save consumers time in their busy lives—and they have equal potential to save employees time at work. Personalized data streams make work faster, easier, and more manageable.

Take the deluge of data that’s drowning many employees. Two in three report feeling overwhelmed by it, spending nearly two hours a day just trying to sift out the information they need. Nearly 75 percent would prefer to receive a subset of personalized data rather than access to the whole set.

Email is another great example. It devours 2.6 hours a day, or more than a quarter of the average employee’s workday—and 40 percent of that time is wasted on unnecessary internal emails. Three in 10 employees would rather get personalized notifications through a mobile app, which could cut down their email time by 30 percent.

The personalization of enterprise apps enables employees to:

Finish more work. Personalized apps increase productivity by more than 45 percent, saving companies 240 hours of lost time a year. Additionally, more than four in 10 employees say features like personalized push notifications make them more efficient and more collaborative. More than half believe personalized tools make them better at their jobs. “More than a mere job perk, a personalized user experience can help employees be more effective and productive,” says Calero.

Quickly check off small tasks. Personalized enterprise apps can simplify all sorts of workflows, allowing employees to complete routine tasks with the tap of a finger. More than a third of companies use personalized apps to provide access to system data, while 29 percent use them to streamline business processes. More than a quarter of employees believe a personalized feed of actions and updates would improve how they leverage, access, and act on information. “One screen to give enough information to make a decision and one thumb tap should be all it takes to take an action,” Holloman says.

Never miss a deadline. In the inundation of emails today’s employees receive, it’s easy for important requests to get lost. Personalized alerts prevent missed emails and delayed responses, which can hold up simple tasks and lead to bottlenecks. Behavior-based push notifications, for example, are opened 800 times more often than generic blasts. While an email might sit in an employee’s inbox for hours (or even days), 97 percent of mobile users will read a text within 15 minutes—and 84 percent will respond within an hour. Quick response times help employees stay on top of their workload.

Stay engaged. Some 88 percent of employees don’t feel passion for their work. However, those who use mobile apps—the apps which introduced true personalization—report feeling three times more connected to their workplace. This heightened engagement makes mobile workers 10 percent happier, 13 percent more productive, and 50 percent less likely to quit their jobs. “It gives them a greater sense of control over their working environment, which psychologists say creates a greater sense of satisfaction,” says Calero. And, as personalized apps move beyond mobile, worker engagement will only increase.

Enjoy more freedom. Eight in 10 employees would like to work fewer hours, but many struggle even to use up the vacation days they’ve earned. The average employee leaves 3.2 PTO days unused each year; around 40 percent of workers say their heavy workload is what bars them from taking time off. Personalized apps help lighten the load by simplifying tasks into clicks and hyper-focusing information delivery so employees can enjoy time off without stressing about work.

More than 70 percent of business leaders believe mobile will transform how people work. And this is just the beginning. With the right apps available through any device or channel, employees will reach their most efficient and productive selves. But that doesn’t mean employees will have to be on the clock 24 hours a day. Rather, personalized apps have the potential to empower us to work more effectively and reclaim our leisure time.

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