Hybrid Workplace Habits & Hangups Report: Frustrated Employees Spend a Quarter of Workweek Searching for Information Needed to Do Their Jobs

Glean survey finds nearly half of employees think searching for work information is more painful than the dentist, harder to manage than their email inbox, and worth leaving a job over

PALO ALTO, Calif.--()--Glean, the work assistant with intuition, today released a new report: Hybrid Workplace Habits & Hangups, a survey of 1,043 knowledge workers conducted by The Harris Poll. As remote and hybrid work remains the norm for businesses of all sizes, the findings uncovered that employees spend, on average, at least two hours a day—or 25 percent of their workweek—looking for the documents, information, or people they need to do their jobs. What’s more, employees are so frustrated with having to search across every company app or service for this information that nearly half (43%) would consider leaving a job if there wasn’t an efficient or easy way to access it.

The new, digital way of working also presents new challenges that leave too much room for confusion and annoyance among colleagues. The survey shows that 20 percent of employed Americans have gotten into work disagreements because of misunderstandings due to virtual communication, while 45 percent of workers get annoyed when coworkers ask them for documents or information they are unable to find. New features in Glean, also announced today, help combat these issues as the company continues its efforts to make finding information at work as simple as a web search, and empower employees to access both the resources and people needed to do their work.

The Time Suck of the SaaS Sprawl

The pandemic proved that knowledge workers can work wherever and whenever they prefer, with countless applications and tools enabling an asynchronous, hybrid workforce. But the sheer amount of information that exists within those tools creates an entirely new problem: the frustrating, wasteful amount of time employees are spending trying to find what they need.

  • The survey found that employed Americans spend, on average, at least two hours a day looking for documents or information they need to do their work.
    • 26% of workers aged 35-44 spend a whopping five hours a day searching for information that they need.
  • Over one-third (35%) of workers switch between work apps at least four times an hour.
    • This increases to 50% for workers aged 18-34.

My Way or the Highway

Given the staggering time wasted, it’s no surprise that having an easy way to search or access the information that lives across workplace apps is a priority for knowledge workers.

  • 43% would consider leaving their job if their company didn’t have an efficient or easy way to access the information and people needed to get their job done.
    • As younger generations enter the workforce, this expectation increases—jumping to 51% of workers aged 18-34 and 57% of workers aged 35-44 years old.
    • Under the additional pressures that come with childcare during the pandemic, 54% of parents also said they’d consider quitting over it.
  • 44% think searching to find what they need at work is more painful than going to the dentist.
  • 42% of employed Americans find it harder to manage the documents and information they need to get work done than their email inbox.
  • Nearly half (48%) would be willing to give up their morning coffee or tea in exchange for the ability to instantly find or have access to the documents and information they need at any given moment at work.
    • Again, this number increases to 60% for parents, who are often forced to be more protective of their time.

Additional survey findings include:

  • Duplication despair: 26% of employed Americans have created a work item that they later discovered already existed.
  • Is that in Slack or email..or Teams..or Box? 24% are guilty of asking a colleague for documents and information rather than taking the time to find it themselves.
  • Silence, please: 18% get interrupted by coworkers at least five times an hour.
    • More women agreed (20%) than men (15%).
  • Companies need to step up their organization game: 45% of employed Americans think their company’s process for organizing shared documents and information is stuck in the dark ages and needs to modernize.

“We’re all spending more time asking and answering questions digitally,” said Arvind Jain, co-founder and CEO of Glean. “This survey highlights how frustrating and time consuming employees find the process of searching for answers and information that should be easily accessible. All aspects of work, from onboarding to material creation to customer support to finding an internal subject-matter expert, can be made more efficient by having prior knowledge instantly available for reference. We continue that mission at Glean with our latest product updates that provide dispersed teams with the ability to connect not only to work and information, but to each other.”

New Features Power Productivity, Customer Engagement

Glean’s powerful, unified search and discovery experience indexes dozens of applications, understanding context, language, behavior, and employee relationships, to deliver personalized results instantly. Since launching in September 2021, the company has seen incredible customer engagement, reporting an average 45 percent DAU/MAU over the last 12 full work weeks. This ratio of daily active users to monthly active users is a strong indicator of consistent daily usage and engagement for enterprise SaaS products, where ratings over 20 percent are considered good and those over 40 percent, excellent.

In an effort to reduce the amount of time spent duplicating work and ease remote onboarding, Glean released iOS and Android apps, along with new features to meet the needs of its growing customer base:

  • Go Links: Create short, memorable links to quickly access important or frequently used information, like go/401k to access a benefits portal, or go/sales-preso for the latest deck. Once users see or hear a Go Link, they know how to easily access it now and in the future.
  • Answers: Capture answers to commonly-asked questions—everything from “what’s our process for…” to “what’s X acronym mean?” to “what holidays do we have off?” Glean’s Slackbot will also proactively answer questions asked in Slack based on Answers that have already been created. Glean recently announced a new feature that allows users to add variations of the same question to yield the same answer.
  • iOS & Android apps: Users can find the information they need, even on the go, with mobile apps now available in the App Store and Google Play.

By putting a company’s knowledge at employees’ fingertips, allowing them to quickly glean the information they need, organizations see an increase in productivity, efficiency, and the overall employee experience. Glean customers report saving 2-3 hours per employee per week—freeing up time to focus on high-value work like shipping code, closing deals, or resolving support issues.

“Glean has transformed the way our teams find information and get work done. Because there’s no learning curve that’s typically seen with traditional enterprise tech deployments, employees feel more empowered and start building better habits immediately. We see more weekly and monthly engagement from employees using Glean compared to other key SaaS platforms,” said Manu Narayan from Confluent, an early customer.

To learn more about Glean, or see the full report findings, click here.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glean from December 16 - 20, 2021 among 1,043 employed adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact nikki.neumann@aircoverpr.com.

About Glean

Glean is the work assistant with intuition. It finds exactly what you need, right when you need it—making it easier for you and your team to get big things done. Glean searches across all your company’s apps, understanding context, language, behavior, and relationships with others, to find personalized answers to your questions. It surfaces knowledge and makes connections with the people who can help. Glean is led by Arvind Jain (Google, Co-Founder of Rubrik), Chris O'Neill (Google, former CEO of Evernote), T.R. Vishwanath (Microsoft, Facebook), Piyush Prahladka (Google, Uber), and Tony Gentilcore (Google), with funding from General Catalyst, Lightspeed, Kleiner Perkins, and The Slack Fund. Learn more at www.glean.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Nikki Neumann
Aircover Communications on behalf of Glean


Nikki Neumann
Aircover Communications on behalf of Glean