Toggle Tax in Flex Space Ops: Lessons from industry pros’ active tab counts

How much is Toggle Tax costing your flex workspace business? We dig into the data and explore how you can both improve productivity and reduce errors.

When we asked flex-space professionals about how many work-related browser tabs they currently had open, 71% were currently toggling between 10+ browser tabs.

While 26% were sitting with 10 to 19 work-related tabs open, 45% noted that they had over 20 browser tabs open at the time

A few well-known industry leaders from across the globe shared that they actually had between 36 and 76 work-related browser tabs open at the time of seeing the poll.

For those who, like us, love graphs, here are the actual poll results:

No Data Found

These browser tabs usually include internal platforms, 3rd party sites, partner portals, spreadsheets, inventory systems, marketing systems, social media channels, and local or industry news that affects the business.

Depending on the professional’s role, there may also be a dozen or so job-specific platforms thrown in there for good measure.

Now I know what you’re thinking…

"So what?! Our team toggles a lot of browser tabs, that's just how flex spaces... well... work."

And if we’ve not met, you’d assume that I’d agree. 

But, if we have already met, you know that our whole team at Syncaroo is ridiculously focused on streamlining workflows for coworking space operating teams. 

And one area we’ve been investing heavily in is minimizing this Toggle Tax for you and your team. 

Read on to learn more about why YOU HAVE TO reduce your Toggle Tax ASAP.

Short on time? Just want help to improve productivity and reduce errors? 

Click here to jump straight into how Syncaroo Assistant helps each of your team members get back up to 5 weeks of productivity each year AND reduce their error rate

"Toggle Tax!? What's that?"

I’m glad you asked!

Our short definition is to think of Toggle Tax as the accumulation of small pauses your brain needs to take when switching interfaces while trying to get stuff done.

But it’s not a term we made up. Oh no. Hundreds of thousands of hours (and even more dollars) have been poured into researching just how big an impact the switching of applications or platforms has on individuals, and the businesses they work for.

Here are just 3 studies we found on the topic, along with some key takeaways.

9% of annual time at work is lost to Toggle Tax

A study published in The Harvard Business Review notes that it takes humans a bit more than clicking the mouse or hitting some keys to switch apps.

They note that it actually takes time to adjust to the application (and things like the way it’s designed, and its context) after switching to get their bearings – even if they were just looking at it a few minutes ago.

When measuring this across 20 teams at Fortune 500 companies they found that, over the course of a year, these post-switch adjustments added up to five working weeks, or 9% of their annual time at work.

"This readjustment takes a toll. Psychology and neuroscience have shown that jumping between tasks — also called “context switching” — is cognitively taxing. We find that even switching or toggling between two applications equates to context switching. Excessive toggling increases the brain’s production of cortisol (the primary stress hormone), slows us down, and makes it harder to focus."

The more app switching, the higher the rate of errors.

In a recent whitepaper, Pega researchers dug into the dangers of what they called “the digital swivel chair” or application switching. 

Their research showed that:

People spend 36 minutes every day switching back & forth.

Another report following an academic study by Qatalog and Cornell University’s Ellis Idea Lab shares even scarier numbers.

When measuring the modern era of work’s impact on culture, mindsets, and productivity, they found that:

"There must be a better way!"

We agree.

If you’re new here, lovely to meet you. We’re Syncaroo and we make it easy, fast, and affordable for flex space business to connect all their tech and systems, so their teams can get more rewarding work done each day.

One of the tools we’ve been developing alongside amazing workspace teams is Syncaroo Assistant, which has been pretty secretive. 

Until today.

Meet Syncaroo Assistant.

Syncaroo Assistant is a browser extension, available for both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, designed specifically to continuously reduce the Toggle Tax for flex workspace teams.

Built alongside managing, operating, marketing, sales and community teams – Assistant is being shaped up and trained to bring more and more useful data into whichever browser tabs you need them in.

Today we shift from a private beta to a public beta, which means that any workspace operator using andcards, Cobot, DeskWorks, essensys Platform, Nexudus, OfficeRnD or Yardi Kube can get access to this toggle-tax-crunching tool with their Syncaroo Platform account.

Here are a few ways Assistant helps reduce toggle or context switching:

In-line checks & updates.

To help you minimize the Toggle Tax at your business,  Syncaroo Assistant includes little widgets called Helpers that overlay live data and tools within the apps that are most important to your team.

The first Helpers requested are being actively tested alongside multi-location flex space teams to bring their live data right into 10 popular online brokerages.

How Syncaroo Assistant’s helpers… help.

Live data. Anywhere.

Want to check which hot desks are available right now? Sidebar.

Want to grab the latest price for that office? Sidebar.

Meeting rooms? Fixed desks? Pricing? Availability?

Sidebar. Sidebar. Sidebar.  And.. sidebar.

The data you need, no matter which tab you’re in.

Get a magical sidebar for your team.

Alerts that matter.

Customizable alerts about what’s happening across your flex space business, right in the Assistant sidebar.

Whether you need to know when an office contract is signed, a meeting room is booked, or whenever new photos, pricing, descriptions, or information has changed – Alerts are available within a single click.

Live notifications can be enabled too, and open Assistant instead of a bunch of new tabs.

Get the alerts you need to know, in whichever tab you’re working in.

Insights, geekiness, and updates in your inbox?

Subscribe to get free Syncaroo updates via email today.

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