There could be billions of dollars being wasted on workplace communication.

According to a study conducted by Loom, 1,500 workers are spending an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes a day communicating through various means, including emails, instant messages, video conferences, and phone calls.

The report also indicates that some of those hours prevent delegated duties from being performed. A whopping 31% of employees say interruptions hinder them from focusing on their jobs. In addition, 85% of employees send the same messages or information multiple times or in multiple places “at least weekly” to ensure no information is missed or to ensure that there is a paper trail.

This is alarming as companies are coughing up more than $21 billion per week as a result of excess communication (See study for further details on how this amount was calculated).

Furthermore, employees are feeling more stressed, some mentioning difficulties with work-life balance.

In fact, statistics revealed 72% of workers have responded to work-related inquiries while interacting leisurely with friends or family; 31% have responded to work messages while using the restroom; and 14% while on a date.

This suggests time is being mismanaged not just at work but also in daily life as well, encroaching on workers’ personal lives.

Preventative measures are available to ensure communication takes place more effectively at work. One suggestion is to have leadership set the standard. Of the sample pool, only 37% of employees reported that their manager encouraged work-life balance and suggested that their workdays end earlier.

“Empower your team to know when work should be synchronous and what’s better handled asynchronously,” Anique Drumright, Loom COO, said in the study. “One way to start is by building a framework based on your team’s ‘How We Work’ values and your employer mission. For example, at Loom, we believe explanation and presentation is best suited for asynchronous channels. Whereas, group decision-making and active discussion about priorities are more suited for a synchronous conversation. If everyone on your team is making strategic choices about sync vs. async time, it can have a significant impact on productivity.”

Another helpful practice suggested was  the use of artificial intelligence (AI), despite growing concerns with the technology.

With the use of AI, it’s said that workplace communication can be lessened to reduce mental fatigue. It could be possible to use AI to reduce jargon and simplify communication.

“AI-assisted communication (AI layered on top of human input) represents a massive opportunity to improve productivity and collaboration across teams,” Joe Thomas, Loom CEO and co-founder, explained in the study. “Let’s say you have a manager with great ideas but a tendency to ramble for 30 minutes. An AI tool could distill that into 5 key takeaway points for team members almost instantaneously. This hits at the core tenets of modern communication: enable people to articulately share ideas in a way that uses company time and resources efficiently. This in turn creates more opportunities to focus on what matters most.”