Digital Overload is Costing Employers Valuable Productivity, Many Employees Look to Paper for Focus Amid Digital Deluge

New Survey Reveals More Than Half of Office Professionals Suffer from Digital Excess

MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 08, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Released today, the first annual Workplace Productivity Report explores how digital technology is affecting productivity in the modern workplace. The survey aims to identify current obstacles to productivity in U.S. offices, and help workers and businesses optimize their balance of analog and digital for a more productive work day. The findings reveal the striking, renewed importance of analog tools among today’s workers.

Statistics show that though we’ve seen unparalleled innovation in digital and IT in the past few decades, productivity has nearly plateaued on a societal level — academics call this the productivity paradox. This year’s Workplace Productivity Report, commissioned by the Paper and Packaging Board, looks at this paradox on the individual level. Respondents called out things like the onslaught of notifications and always-on email culture as distractions, stress inducers and roadblocks. Many of those office workers look to paper as a remedy — reading hard copies, writing instead of typing notes and using paper calendars to stick to the task at hand.

“There’s no question that digital tools have in many ways made the workplace more efficient. But we get blindsided by our digital environment when there are certain tasks for which paper is just more effective,” said productivity expert Holland Haiis. “If we jot down our top three objectives for the day on paper first thing in the morning, we avoid getting lost in our inboxes. We’re much more likely to retain information if we annotate a hard copy. And taking a notebook to meetings rather than a phone or laptop helps us actually connect to coworkers and solve problems more rapidly.”

Developed in partnership with trusted data survey company Kelton, the study collected insights from more than 1,000 employed Americans aged 18+ who work in an office environment, revealing the following findings:

American workers are inundated. Nine in 10 spend the majority of their day staring at a screen.

  • Over half (52%) of office professionals are suffering from digital overload.
  • 87% of office professionals say they spend the majority of their work day staring at screens: an average of seven hours a day.
  • 41% feel they are constantly bombarded by digital alerts.

It’s taking its toll on productivity. Almost half of workers feel screen overload is making them less productive.

  • 62% think digital tools are making their teams unfocused and inefficient in meetings.
  • 49% of office professionals feel that screen overload is making them less productive.
  • 53% say they use technology specifically to procrastinate at work.

Workers are partnering analog and digital tools to optimize. Over half rely on paper as much or more than digital.

  • Over three in five (62%) rely on paper as much as or more than digital devices to get their job done.
  • 75% think it’s important to have the option to use paper in the workplace whenever they want.
  • 47% feel that paper provides a much-needed break from technology.

A balance of analog and digital breaks up mental fog. 96% prefer hard copies over viewing content digitally.

  • 60% of office professionals say they use paper specifically to make them more productive.
  • 96% prefer to work with hard copies over digital versions of the same information.
  • Workers often use analog tools to complete high-focus tasks: 53% prefer using paper calendars and to-do lists to manage their time; 41% reach for paper over digital tools when they need to be attentive.

“There is no doubt that digital innovation has driven and will continue to drive our world over the coming decades, but we’re increasingly understanding that we must partner analog and digital solutions for personal wellbeing and business productivity,” said Mary Anne Hansan, president of the Paper and Packaging Board. “This study shows that workers crave tactile connections beyond the screen when it comes to both meetings and their own day-to-day work — paper gives them just that.”

The Workplace Productivity Report 2019 is the first of an annual survey from the Paper and Packaging Board, produced in partnership with Kelton.

Survey Methodology

These are the findings from a Kelton survey conducted June 28 - July 5, 2019. The study surveyed 1,057 employed Americans, aged 18+ who work in an office environment.

About the Paper and Packaging Board

The Paper and Packaging Board promotes the use of paper products and paper-based packaging by highlighting the value they bring to our daily lives. More than 40 U.S. manufacturers and importers collectively fund the national marketing campaign, Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds®.   

About Holland Haiis

Holland Haiis is a Digital Detox and Human Connection Expert helping corporations and organizations build better relationships with and without technology. Using neuroscience, analog and digital tools to increase opportunities, creativity and productivity. For more information about Holland Haiis visit  

About Kelton Global

Kelton Global is a leading global insights firm serving as a partner to more than 100 of the Fortune 500 and thousands of smaller companies and organizations. For more information about Kelton Global please call 1.888.8.KELTON or visit




01-Work Productivity Report Press Release FINAL.pdf

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