Being digital. It’s so ingrained into our everyday lives. The amount of time we spend looking at our beloved little screens is astonishing. But why is it that we can spend 3-6 hours playing candy crush, and can’t apply deep thinking in an office environment? We can pick up a smartphone with no training, but when it comes to business systems we usually require our colleagues to give us a tutorial before we understand.

Is it just me, or is this app addictive?

If you have a smartphone, every day you will open and close various apps, satisfyingly deleting one red notification at a time. People in the UK spend on average over 24 hours per week on their phones.

And this is no mistake. Everything, even down the colour scheme of smartphones is designed to stimulate your brain. Turning your screen grey, is a small mind hack that can make all the difference in how many times a day you check your smartphone.

Everything about applications encourages us to spend more time utilising them. Whether that’s scrolling through a news feed or playing a game. Even that little circle that lights up around your friends Instagram story urges you to watch, and experience that obligatory social media FOMO. Games like candy crush utilise the psychology of Skinner’s Box to encourage you to keep playing and rack up those hours. Some argue we should make our digital products like smartphones more ethical, as they are making us vulnerable to manipulation.

However these manipulations are not always negative. Used positively, key principles used within digital consumer products can optimise our real life work experience. We have clear goals, we are autonomous in our decisions, we collaborate with others, we learn quickly and with few risks involved.

Those Organisations that can balance leveraging the best bits with the potential downfalls will be the ones that enable a blissful & productive workforce.

There’s nothing on TV, see what’s on Netflix

We’re addicted to our phones and other digital products because its content we have chosen for ourselves and not content that has been chosen for us.

Applications are designed to be personalised to our interests. Their AI algorithms cleverly calculated which content to present to us. It’s not just a coincidence of being in the right place at the right time, content is purposefully placed with all the information that has been gathered about our likes and dislikes.

Technologies like AI can be utilised within the workplace. Especially when it comes to training, to present us with the right information at the right time, relevant to our job role. If more AI was used in business systems to stimulate employee’s interests, it would lead to higher engagement and job satisfaction.

This isn’t the correct way you do it!

Another key reason why we can pick up and utilise digital products outside of work, no questions asked is due to the fact we can dictate our own processes. No one tells you which application to check first. It’s the application that you’re most engaged with you choose to check before any of the others.

Whereas at work there is a specific process to follow, in the way we prioritise and the way we carry out tasks. This is to minimise inconsistencies and make it clear when a mistake is human error.

Automation is able to change this, delegating tasks that historically human tasks to Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This could be key to minimising human error and also eliminates the need for training around the area that’s now automated by process. Leaving employees to focus on more complex, less monotonous tasks in their job.

Food for thought

It’s clear that we’re going more digital but in our business lives, sometimes it’s like stepping backwards in time. Dated, unengaging systems and clunky process carried out by humans? It’s time to modernise! 

But there’s no need to spend money developing your own software. Increasingly we’re seeing solutions that are Software as a Service (SaaS) that are addictive by design too, beautiful and gamified just like the applications on our phones. And as for processes, there’s plenty of experts that can help you to automate.

So, where will you start to improve efficiency and engage your tech savvy employees?