What is Digital Friction?

What is digital friction?

Digital friction is commonly described as the unnecessary effort an employee has to exert to use technology. This includes extra steps to complete routine tasks, having to toggle between disparate applications to find information, and complicated workflows that take time away from meaningful work. 

Digital friction is a detriment to employee productivity and statistics show it causes irreparable harm to the digital experience.

Digital friction really became problematic with the pandemic.

Organizations did a great job keep employees and businesses afloat during a time of tremendous upheaval. But the host of new apps and collaboration platforms that were deployed to enable remote work caused some negative side effects no one could have seen coming.

While each individual solution companies launched was well-suited to helping workers be more engaged and productive, their cumulative effect was a frustrating, disjointed experience that dragged down productivity. There were suddenly too many places to go to find information and complete tasks, and communications were coming from more sources than ever before.

As a result of the overload of apps, information, and noise, digital friction also began a domino effect that’s also affected business:

  • Missing important communications – Employees frequently miss important announcements and time-sensitive reminders.

  • Delayed approvals - Managers lose approvals amongst other emails, blocking important work or requests from being completed.

  • Time wasted from context switching - Employees lose valuable time jumping from one system to another to complete tasks or look up common information.