By Wayne Turmel.

I receive dozens of app and technology advertisments a week that guarantee to increase team collaboration and improve communication. Part of the constant onslaught of app advertisments is my own fault for visiting so many blogs and websites doing research for The Remote Leadership upcoming events and this blog. Still, I’m feeling overwhelmed and burned out on technology, and I suspect many of you are as well. So, it’s time to talk about App Fatigue.

Let’s start by acknowledging the essential paradox of working remotely. Communication and relationship building is essential to a successful remote team, and it can be accomplished best through the effective use of good technology. Yet, all the technology in the world won’t help your team if you and your employees refuse to use it to its full potential. Thus, most technology doesn’t do what it is suppose to do, and people immediately dub it a “waste of time.”

The problem with most apps (and technology in general) isn’t whether or not they “work” because most do more or less what they promise. The problem is getting people to buy-in to the benefits of the app/technology and then use it every day.

Ask yourself these questions before you consider a new technology:

  • Can I state in one sentence how this tool will make our job easier/faster/better? For example, what problem are you experiencing that it will solve? People are more open to adopting tools that solve obvious problems. Most don’t want to use something simply for the sake of using something new. If you have a defined problem, and the technology offers a clearly defined solution, then give it more consideration. If you have no problem, why switch?
  • Does it look or feel like something we’re already using? People tend to gravitate toward stuff that is familiar, assuming there will be less of a learning curve. So your team may be more likely to take a chance on something built into Outlook or Salesforce than use something stand-alone. Before adopting something new, audit your current tech. Decide if you are using it to its full capability. Perhaps by taking advantage of all its features or using it in a different way, you can solve your problem.
  • Is anyone else using it? You and your employees may not want to be “first adopters,” even if the tech promises to fix your exact problem. Find out who else has used it, starting with people in your organization, and what their experience has been. Testimonies from people you know and trust usually have more of an impact than any white paper or case study a sales person will share with you.
  • How will we learn it, and can we get help? Tech support, training, and the ability to get answers when you need them are critical when you roll out a tool to your team. If people think they’ll be left to figure it out on their own, they’ll be more apprehensive, resistant even. People want to ask questions, receive answers, and get back to work. Spending a lot of valuable worktime learning a “shortcut” doesn’t feel like a good time investment.

So before you chase every shiny new app that claims it will solve your problem, conduct this simple assessment and move foward with technology that will actually improve how your team works and communicates.

Wayne Turmel is a speaker, writer and co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute. He’s passionate about helping people present, sell and lead people and projects using today’s virtual communication technology.

Photo Credit:


Want more articles like this?

Subscribe to any of our e-newsletters to get them delivered directly to your inbox.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}