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As humans, we’re much worse at multitasking than we think, and there’s a huge cost to productivity every time we give up one thing for another. With digital asset management (DAM) tools, creatives can get everything they need in one place, improving focus and keeping “context switching” to a minimum.
Every time you need to think about how to do a job instead of the task at hand, you pay a price. It’s like a creativity tax, where time is diverted from thinking about the problem you’re trying to solve.
It’s the time you waste trying to find a file, or the time you waste figuring out how to use a tool. Imagine the time lost during the early days of the pandemic, when questions about how work would get done became major issues.
- Do your team members each have a laptop?
- Can your team log in to the server?
- Should you use Teams or Zoom?
Suddenly, you had to learn to do your job differently.
Work patterns may feel more established now, but the challenges with hybrid working remain, such as brainstorming with some people in the office and others remote. Underneath it all is the same tax on creativity, which depends on “context switching,” your tendency to jump from one unrelated task to another.
Multitaskers or “single taskers” are those who are simply busy all the time. Worse yet, once you’ve lost your focus on the main thing you were doing, it takes an average of 23 minutes to regain your focus. It’s 23 minutes of messages, unscheduled calls or immersing yourself in other projects.
“Multitasking is a myth,” says Dr. Sahar Yousef, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s actually rapidly switching from one task to another and then back again.”
Today’s sheer number of applications makes context switching a constant issue. People spend 20% of their workday switching between different messaging channels, cloud systems, and project management tools just looking for information, according to research from Cornell University.
Other research found that the average employee checks their email every six minutes and uses 35 apps, switching between them more than 1,000 times a day.
Productivity must be managed, and hybrid work environments require fewer context switches.
There is also another problem here: the “virtual distance” between colleagues, which has two parts. First, there is the “affinity distance”, where you feel separated from your colleagues and from what you are working on; Second, there is the “operational distance”, which arises from the lack of shared tools.
More productive hybrid work means closing that virtual distance, which is built on tools that bring your team and tasks together.
Creating, sharing, and storing creative assets are some of the biggest sticking points here. Context switching and virtual distance arise when your business relies on local storage and ad hoc file sharing, asking people to be on-demand or interruptible.
Your staff can waste time looking for assets in emails, as well as duplicate work when they can’t find existing files. Worse yet, your brand is diluted when old assets or unapproved assets are used. Meanwhile, sales teams struggle to access the materials to create winning presentations.
When content is constantly created from scratch, rather than reused, your computer is slower. Creatives spend 24 minutes a day searching for files, according to research with more than 200 marketing organizations. And if this time were freed up, you wouldn’t have to work so late.
Surprisingly, one in three creative organizations even store assets on hard drives, and more than half of new members eventually discover assets that would have been useful beforehand, had creatives known they existed.
Digital asset management platforms minimize context switching and virtual distance by allowing you to store your digital assets in one place, so you can easily find files and seamlessly collaborate.
By using a DAM platform, you can securely circulate your digital content, getting more value from those assets while controlling access. DAM platforms reduce search time, reduce rework and eliminate the need to change tools. This enables teams to collaborate better, boosting productivity and job satisfaction by reducing manual tasks.
With DAM tools, you can increase the productivity of your creative teams by allowing them to focus on work instead of responding to one-time requests for assets. You can protect your brand identity and integrity by also establishing a registration system for your digital assets.
Above all, you can meet your business goals on time and on budget by leveraging more of your existing digital assets.
A highly integrated DAM platform means no switching between tools to complete a task, no need to interrupt a colleague to find what you need. Affinity distance and operational distance close because there is no barrier to completing what needs to be accomplished in a shared environment. It is time claimed for creativity.
So what is gained by closing the virtual distance and removing the context switch? Research on remote work reveals a 90% performance gap between high and low “virtual distance” teams. By giving people the tools and processes that make them feel like they’re working together, you’ll see a difference in their performance.
When it comes to context switching, there is evidence of a 40% drop in productivity when people constantly switch tasks compared to when they are fully focused.
If you really want to solve your productivity problem, start by giving your team the right tools for the job. Take home your copy of the How Creative Teams Stay Productive in the Hybrid World eBook for more insights and real-life success stories. You may download it here.
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How Creative Teams are Staying Productive in the Hybrid World