I’ve been working some with a software company called Quickbase (disclaimer: they sometimes pay me for posts without dictating content and also for appearing on webinars and podcasts). They produce a number of products and software solutions in a no-code/low-code environment for customers. I picked up a phrase from them called “Gray Work”—the time lost when searching for data and information. This news announces the release of their second edition of the Gray Work research report – the “Gray Work Index” released April 16.

In brief: 

  • Work is Harder and Less Meaningful than Ever, and Everybody Knows It
  • More than half – 54% – of workers surveyed feel it’s harder than ever to be productive in their day-to-day work and 58% spend less than half a typical work week on meaningful work that drive results
  • AI could be a solution, but only if key steps are taken to ensure the right foundation

According to a recent survey by Quickbase, the software application platform for dynamic work management, over half (54%) of 1923 workers in the US and UK feel it is harder than ever to be productive in their day-to-work – even as their organizations ramp up investments in technology tools and software to enhance productivity, work management and collaboration.

Looking across a dozen complex, operationally and process-driven industries (including Construction, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and others), the survey sought to uncover the ways in which disconnected data and information, outmoded and ineffective processes and workflows, and too many technology tools lead employees to feel overwhelmed, ineffective, and frustrated.

  • Overwhelmed by technology – 94% of respondents reported feeling overwhelmed by the number of software solutions they need to use every day to get their work done (up from 87% in 2023).
  • Too much manual work – 74% of those surveyed say the amount of manual work has either stayed the same or increased compared to one year ago.
  • Less time for impactful work – 58% say they spend less than half a typical work week on meaningful work that drives results.
  • Hard to get what they need – 45% of respondents say they spend 11+ hours every week chasing information across their organization.

66% of respondents reported that organizations increased investments in tools/software to enhance productivity, work management and collaboration.

Top three challenges per the survey:

  • miscommunication (44%)
  • duplication of work (43%)
  • project delays (42%)

Project management:

  • Almost 70% of respondents say the use of multiple project management software solutions makes it harder to share project-related information with others.
  • 10% of respondents say they are “extremely confident” in the accuracy of the key project information in their current software solutions
  • the remaining 90% express some level of doubt

Quickbase’s “The Gray Work Index” surveyed 1,923 workers in the United States and the United Kingdom & Ireland in February 2024. Respondents included employees from more than a dozen operationally complex industries, including construction, manufacturing, professional services, healthcare, and state & local government.

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