Do your employees waste too much time and lose productivity searching for and sharing knowledge, documents and files at work?

51% of employees avoid sharing documents because they can’t find them or it would take too long to do so.

Igloo 2020 State of the Digital Workplace report

This statistic highlights that there are some key failures in the tools and processes chosen for communication and collaboration by organizations.

Employees can get caught in a conundrum when trying to provide assistance to fellow colleagues by sharing knowledge, files or documents that someone has requested in order to advance their work. Without centralized access and sharing capability, employees are effectively discouraged from providing assistance when needed because it can be too costly to see a request for help through.

Establishing a single source of truth in a field of silos

App fatigue is a real thing. Highly fragmented work platforms that integrate across multiple cloud-based technologies such as Slack, G-Suite, Confluence, Dropbox and so on, can create confusion and impede productivity when there is no strategy to deal communicating and collaborating amidst these silos.

Knowledge silos exacerbate issues around search and sharing by multiplying the search time by the number of silos that knowledge might exist in. If you have existing knowledge silos, you might consider either consolidating them or bridging them with a tool, like Obie, that establishes a single source of truth for search, discovery and access. Retroactive consolidation of silos can be a costly endeavor, so rather than consolidating the actual knowledge, explore consolidating search and access first.

Stifled sharing

1 in 4 employees use at least 2 non-approved communication and collaboration apps

Igloo 2020 State of the Digital Workplace report

Everyone has tried at some point to share a document or file via email and been confronted with a file-size limit that prevents a message from being sent. Then you might try and zip the file, only to find it isn’t compressed enough to fit under the limit. Then, you might explore a file-sharing tool as a last ditch attempt to offer assistance to someone asking for help.

Its infinitely frustrating when trying to share some knowledge, all in the interest of accelerating a teammate’s work, then realizing that you are forced to abandon sharing because it’s costing you too much time and you need to get your own work done.

Consequently, employees turn to utilizing unapproved (and possibly insecure) alternatives to share knowledge. Besides corporate security issues, this creates an even more fragmented work platform, which undermines consistency and creates chaos in the workplace. With one employee sharing files on Google Drive, and another on SharePoint, and still another on Dropbox, the digital footprint of the organization becomes unmanageable.

Enable self-serve support

In the ideal situation, a strong culture built around self-serve support can alleviate bottlenecks involving discovery and sharing of documents, files and knowledge at work. Workplace cultures that assert importance on self-serve support reap higher individual productivity and satisfaction due to less distractions, context switching and shoulder tapping.

For the third year, Igloo Software compiled their annual State of the Digital Workplace report. We referenced this source of fascinating statistics that resonate with both centralized and distributed organizations to produce this article.