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Young Aussies might have taken off more byte than they can chew, says new study


Young, tech savvy Australians are struggling to navigate the rising tide of digital files and online communication channels.

According to new research, Australians aged 18-25 years old show reliance on email, apps, social media and cloud technology, which has created a new range of productivity pitfalls.

The survey of 1,000 Australians, commissioned by Australian document productivity start-up Nitro, found nearly nine in ten (87 per cent) 18-25 year olds had recently faced a digital roadblock, such as forgetting a password or losing a digital document—nearly double that of respondents over 55 years old (55 per cent) and well above the national average (67 per cent), raising concerns about the efficiency and focus of the future workforce.

More than half of those aged 18-25 (55 per cent) said that they have been ‘distracted from more important tasks by email or social platforms’ while only 18 per cent of those 45 and over reported the same problem.

How else are the younguns struggling with tech?

They were also three times more likely to forget their password or login details than respondents over age 55, and ten times more likely to forget who sent them a file or information on which platform, for example, Facebook, Slack, Yammer, Dropbox or email.

Business productivity guru and Nitro APAC Director, Adam Nowiski, highlighted that while tech is driving efficiency in all aspects of daily life, it’s clear Gen Ys are struggling to stay focussed and productive in a digitised landscape of fragmented communication channels.

“While young Aussies are the biggest adopters of newer technologies like social media, apps, and cloud storage, our study shows it could be resulting in a generation that struggles with channel and content overload,” Nowiski said.

The survey found 31 per cent of 18-25 year olds had ‘lost’ a digital document in the last six months and 18 per cent had sent, received or worked on the wrong version of a document.

Having to print, sign, scan and email digital documents that require approval was the most common productivity challenge, and while 42 per cent of Australians said they use their email like a “digital filing cabinet,” 32 percent have had to create a separate email account to reduce clutter in their inbox.

New tools, new challenges

Nowiski said the digital tools intended to simplify our lives have actually thrown up a whole raft of new challenges that the modern worker must deal with.

“Our younger workers are facing a myriad of distractions, with numerous social channels, multiple email accounts and, more recently, the incorporation of workplace communication platforms like Slack, Yammer, and Skype.

“When you factor in the different file sharing and cloud storage applications, it’s clear there’s a flood of information and documents washing over the workforce from all angles.”

Nowiski further pointed out that Millenials and Gen Ys are increasingly representative in the Australian workforce and business leaders should, therefore, take a considered approach when implementing newer workplace productivity tools.

“To avoid teams becoming unproductive due to digital overload, business leaders need to take a measured approach to embracing new technology that enhances, rather than distracts, their teams,” he remarked.