Businesses Must Modernize Communications or Risk Productivity Loss

We are inundated with information every day. Employees are faced with a constant barrage of content that often threatens to overwhelm them. And, despite evidence that visual content is easier to digest and increases productivity and engagement Yet today’s businesses are twice as likely to be increasing their use of plain-text email over any other type of communication.

But that’s not what employees need.

Despite the growing desire from workers for more visual content in workplace communications, research undertaken amongst 4,500 office workers shows many businesses are sending more plain-text emails — and that may be causing problems.

The research shows:

  • Businesses are two-times as likely to be increasing their use of plain-text email over any other type of communication

  • Science shows two-thirds (67%) of people understand information better when communicated visually

  • Almost half (47%) of employees think their company relies on plain-text email to communicate

  • Only a quarter (25%) of employees have received a video message in their company

Wendy Hamilton, TechSmith CEO, said adding visual content to everyday tasks like email and presentations increases productivity and engagement.

“Email is the lifeblood of how we communicate professionally, and that will remain true but with visual evolution,” she said. “Adding screenshots or a short video to emails fosters better understanding, reducing the need for follow-up.”

“As the workforce becomes increasingly digitally savvy, visuals and video are necessary for employee engagement,” she continued. “Businesses that fail to adapt may find themselves lagging in productivity and even losing top talent.”

Productivity and engagement

TechSmith’s research shows that using visual content, such as short videos and static images, vs. text alone, saves time and improves performance.

A scientific trial to find out how the use of visual communications impacts business performance finds two-thirds (67%) of employees are better at completing tasks when communicated with by video or text with images than by plain text.

Disappointing communications are impacting employee engagement too. As many as a third (36%) of employees have been demotivated by poor company-wide communications, compared to a quarter (25%) who have not been affected.

More than a third (38%) of employees believe they would be more engaged if corporate communications were more inspiring than they are today — five times more than those who think it would make absolutely no difference (7%).

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Visual Communication Statistics Show Businesses Could Unlock More than $167 Billion in Productivity

 

 

Thanks to tools like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat, it’s never been easier to create, share and consume visual content. Every day, nearly two billion emojis are shared just on Facebook; two billion GIFS are sent through Giphy, and one billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube. The way we consume information and communicate has fundamentally changed.

Businesses have started to adapt customer communications — GIFs into emails and emojis into subject lines, for instance. But how many have considered the impact of these digital communication trends on their most valuable asset: their employees?

We set out to investigate how businesses are adapting to the needs of their workforce, and the potential financial and economic impact of visual employee communications. While we’ve long understood the benefits of visual communication on engagement and learning, the degree of impact this report revealed was a surprise even to us.

The Findings

The research found that by using more visual content such as screenshots, screencasts, images, videos, and GIFs in employee communications, businesses could unlock more than $167 billion in productivity over the six regions studied.

That’s a huge number, but what does that mean for individual businesses? Businesses that adopt more engaging visual communication could gain:

  • In an eight-hour day, communicating with employees using effective visuals, such as videos and screenshots vs. plain-text email, could save each affected employee six minutes and 43 seconds.

  • Over a 40-hour week, that equals 33 minutes and 36 seconds. When calculated for a year (230 days), it comes to over 25 hours of added productivity.

  • Businesses could gain up to $1,200 in productivity per year for every employee who consumes content as part of their jobs.

  • For a company of 500 workers, this could gain the equivalent of seven full-time employees — without hiring a single person.

“We’ve always known that visuals are essential to the effectiveness of communication, and therefore are essential to instruct and inspire. The essential findings of this study are, first, that visuals matter even more than most assume and second, there is an urgency for leaders to adapt as employee demographics change.” - Wendy Hamilton, CEO- TechSmith

Along with untapped productivity, there is a significant employee impact as well.

Younger workers are twice as likely as baby boomers to use images and video to communicate in their own time — and they are two times more likely to want more visual communications at work.

This is just a sample of the findings from this research study, which included the US, UK, Australia, Canada, German, Switzerland, Austria, and France. And the results varied across the countries we studied.

The Full Research Findings

To read the full research study and see how the countries stack up with each other, download our full report.

value of visuals research

Infographic: Learn How Visual Content Can Increase Productivity

What if you could unlock thousands of dollars in untapped productivity in your business?

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The Value of Visuals Report

Learn how much countries and businesses could gain in productivity by adding visuals to their workplace communications.

Download the Full Report ›