How Powerful Intranet Search Improves Employee Productivity

Roy Shaked
By Roy Shaked
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Updated April 11, 2023.

How Powerful Intranet Search Improves Employee Productivity main image

Ever wished there were more hours in the day to get everything done at work? Improving levels of employee productivity is high on the agenda for organizations, managers and employees themselves. The speed and quality of output and our ability to get things done impacts important everything from meeting project deadlines to delivering support for customers; low productivity ultimately influences the bottom line. On a personal level, our productivity influences our wellbeing, our work-life balance, perceptions of our performance and even our relationship with our team members.

In this post we’re going to explore the link between poor search and low productivity, and look at how a powerful intranet search tool like Unleash can improve employee productivity.

The Time We Waste

Wasting time is the sworn enemy of employee productivity. One unnecessary activity which continually drains those precious hours is the time that gets wasted on fruitless searching for information and files. How much time do you and your co-workers spend on finding that one document you need, or that single, critical piece of data?

The extent to which this is a problem is truly eyebrow-raising. A landmark article from the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that knowledge workers can spend as much as 19% of their day looking for and gathering information. Although the McKinsey data is a decade old, and even it is an overestimate, poor search remains a huge problem today. Anecdotally most of us recognise that we waste significant time on searching for information.

Let’s look at some of the specific reasons why poor search is such a drain on our productivity.

Proliferation of Apps and Repositories

One of the reasons why it’s so hard to find things is the proliferation of cloud-based apps that we use every day. Microsoft 365, Slack, Dropbox, Confluence, Jira, SerivceNow, G-suite. The list goes on. Surveys continually show that the number of apps that a person uses across the working week is colossal; estimates suggest that workers use an average of 9.4 apps per day and that organizations use an average of 110 SaaS apps across their workforce.

These cloud tools are fantastic and help us get our work done, but the flipside is that the information and files that we need to find are now spread across multiple repositories. Looking through all these places takes up time and effort. Employees are not just looking for a needle in a haystack – there’s a whole field of haystacks to search through!

Perhaps the most popular feature of Unleash is its ability to search through multiple cloud repositories at the same time. When you integrate Unleash into your intranet search it means employees can look through nearly 40 (and rising) common cloud apps all at the same time, supporting better employee productivity.

The Damage of Context Switching

Having to search through multiple apps doesn’t just drain productivity because of time wasted, it also breaks our natural flow and concentration. The “context switching” that occurs when we jump from one digital app to another causes a lull in productivity and can even produce fatigue; research suggests it takes 9.5 minutes to regain our flow when we make that switch. Research also suggests that a person who is multi-tasking between 30 applications will make 28% more errors compared to someone who is working with less. When we’re working across multiple apps every day, context switching starts to become a major factor on helping us get things done.

When we built the Unleash platform, we wanted to tackle this issue head on, not only through the ability to search across all your favorite cloud solutions from one application with one search box, but also in the “Action” feature that allows you to trigger common tasks such as creating a new email in Google Mail or logging a ticket in ServiceNow. By integrating Unleash into your intranet search, it can become a launchpad for your apps and help reduce the impact of context switching.

✶ Learn how to eliminate context switching by improving Dropbox search

The Consequences of Not Finding What We Need

Unsuccessful searching also has a range of other consequences that are a further on drain productivity. Frequently, one person’s failed search becomes another person’s problem as they ask their co-workers to help them. If a team member wastes fifteen minutes trying to find an item and then emails three of their colleagues asking who has a particular item, that’s then the time wasted and flow interrupted for four people. The problem spreads!

There are also the actions that follow as a consequence of not finding information. For example, people recreate documents that they don’t need to (or don’t have the latest version) and there is a duplication of effort. There are also multiple use cases where people across different departments – sales staff, tech engineers, customer support staff- can’t carry out key tasks efficiently because they can’t find supporting information they need to prepare for a sales meeting or resolve a customer issue.

Again, when we built Unleash we wanted to ensure it could also be used across teams and help swerve the consequences that are caused by poor search. The ability to filter the search by app helps to pinpoint what you need, and then easily share resources with a colleague to Gmail, Outlook or WhatsApp all from within the search tool.

✶ Here are some ways to fix Google Drive search

Transforming Your Intranet Search Into a Productivity Engine

Intranet search tends to be the go-to place that all employees can access and is used to find what people need. But invariably intranet search is poor and is more likely to be a drain on productivity rather than saving time and raising efficiency.

When you introduce a tool like Unleash you can effectively transform your intranet search into a tool that raises productivity through:

  • Having one solution that works across all the cloud apps you use every day and where work actually happens, meaning everyone can find what they need
  • Acting as a launch pad for all these applications, triggering actions and with the added ability to share resources across the team
  • Enhancing findability right across the organization, increasing the visibility of documents and files that support knowledge management and avoid people reinventing the wheel

Our analysis suggests that on average Unleash can help every individual employee save three hours per week. When this extends across your entire team, this is far more time to focus on higher value activities and improve output.

Arrange a Demo!

If you’re interested in finding out more and want to see how your intranet search can transform into a productivity tool, then arrange a free demo!