According to a Gartner report, by 2020, the impact of interruptions on human effectiveness will cause 40% of enterprises to restrict notifications on wearables and smartphones.
The concept of an interruption is an interesting one. The roots of the word are from old French, derived from “a break of continuity”. If you assume that a break in continuity, let’s say in a thought process or in the act of providing a service to a customer, is not desirable, then the onslaught of technology is indeed making it more and more challenging to maintain continuity. With technology spreading from desktop PCs to personal smart phones down to our wrist with smart watches, an increasing level of interruptions is inevitable. Overlay this scenario with the intermingling of personal and professional devices where companies have rolled out Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies, and the policy questions and decisions rise in complexity. What will be allowed to interrupt your work day and when? What will rate the highest, or even pass through a filter process: a business alert, a personal alert, or an alert from the networked coffee machine that the office just ran out of Columbian Blend? Getting out in front of this is imperative, especially in the policy environment. Educating and managing the change over time will be significantly easier than abruptly curtailing someone’s perceived rights when it comes to self-selecting which interruptions to be exposed to throughout the day. Thoughtful policies will be key, and then implementation over time will be necessary.