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Leaders Must Step-Up to Help Overloaded, Overworked, and Defocused Remote Teams

Jan Rezab
July 23, 2020
Now is the time for change. This is not the first time in history we are redesigning the workplace. It is the first time when we can do it with data.

Three weeks ago, we published some exclusive Work From Home data. It clearly demonstrated the state of how company teams are collaborating in the digital office environment -  people are having more meetings, and with more people than ever. We have all heard it and seen it - “Zoom Fatigue” became a thing, but I believe it just sheds light on a problem that has already been around for a while - Meetingitis (too many meetings in organizations). Teams are overwhelmed with too many meetings before and during the pandemic. Yet companies are still not taking any action and it’s hurting productivity…

Now is the time for change. This is not the first time in history we are redesigning the workplace. It is the first time when we can do it with data.

But first, let’s discuss what’s  new in Productivity & Collaboration:

  1. Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom says: “If I started over with the company, I’m not going to have a single physical office. A lot of people asked me ‘are you crazy?’ They realize that’s the reality now.” Let’s have data show how different distributed vs. physical companies are. Time (and data!) will tell.
  2. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google says: “Our campuses are designed to enable collaboration and community — in fact, some of our greatest innovations were the result of chance encounters in the office — and it’s clear this is something many of us don’t want to lose.”
  3. Daniel Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack says:  their employees will be allowed to work from home indefinitely, really? Slack has also just filed an antitrust complaint with the EU about Microsoft abusing dominant behavior with Teams. Slack says Microsoft should not bundle Teams for free with the dominant Office 365. Yes, Slack is right. Microsoft will likely end up paying a speeding ticket to the EU, life will go on. And Slack itself should probably be more open about its own Slack Analytics - today, it doesn’t give much, perhaps hiding its real usage due to Slack making work even more taxing?
  4. Microsoft released data on their remote workforce in the HBR - which confirmed our findings in our latest Work from Home Study. We both discovered that there are more meetings, they are shorter, and that certain events like 1:1 meetings did change this behavior if presented early.

This is not the first time in history we are redesigning the workplace. It is the first time when we can do it with data.

Overload & Overtime & Lack of Focus

Since analyzing clients at the early stages of shifting to remote work environments, from the number of their meetings, Slack, and emails - we discovered that there might not be a lot of focus - but even in creative jobs that really should have two or three hours of focus time a day. This might have changed during Working from Home more than we thought - bringing focus down to potentially just tens of minutes per employee. We are studying focus time more and more at Time is Limited using data from our Office 365 and G Suite Analytics.

It seriously shocks me that companies don’t use this data at scale, and seek to understand how this data could be used to support their teams.

What Should Companies Do?

  1. Regroup and reorganize time - Look at how meetings are organized and possibly reorganize, regroup, shorten, or perhaps even remove some weekly recurring meetings - and do this on a regular basis
  2. Give them the data - We should empower our teams to analyze and leverage behavioral data so they can see how time is allocated/used at the team level - let them make their own decisions
  3. Enforce good new habits - Use data from the COVID pandemic to better improve your workforce. Maybe there are habits - such as large team meetings that were in-person, but that you’d want to keep virtual forever.
  4. Increase focus time of your teams - Understand how much focus time the teams have can help to optimize it. Discuss it with your team.
  5. Overtime - Team managers should assess whether parts of their teams work overtime at home, and compare it to their past behavior.

To conclude: I hope that large companies learn how to help improve and support their remote teams to thrive while working at home. The first step starts with the data.

When I have the data, what now? I am sure you have your hypothesis about your organization's efficiencies and inefficiencies. Especially now, when everybody works from home. Do you have enough time to focus? But how do you know for sure? Be a data-driven productivity leader and improve the collaboration ecosystem. It will result in better performance and a workplace where people thrive.Stay safe and productive,
Jan Rezab

New at Time is Ltd.

  • LIMITED OFFER: We are looking for companies to test our new Focus Time Analytics! If you are interested, reply to this email.
  • Analyze the full spectrum of your collaboration ecosystem. We keep adding more data sources to visualize the productivity of the entire productivity ecosystem. Our platform is equipped with Slack Analytics, Webex Analytics, and Office 365 and G Suite analytics.
  • Visualize teams' structure with the new design of our Org Chart Builder. It is truly one of the finest organization charting tools out there.
  • Salesforce intelligence tools like our Salesforce Account Relationship Mapping App to plug into your Salesforce account is now available on the Salesforce AppExchange.


At Time is Ltd., we measure digital collaboration and productivity, without ever sacrificing employee privacy. We provide an advanced analytical SaaS platform that delivers a holistic view of an organization collaboration patterns. We measure your team’s digital footprint to improve communication, productivity as well as save precious time. Our approach only aggregates meta-data from a variety of data sources, to show how your teams work with your collaboration tools so you can get them more productive and motivated.

Jan Rezab

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