Useful or not, the onslaught of information has workers across the globe feeling stressed and disparaged.
across the planet admit to being overwhelmed by the voracious volume of
work-related information they have to consume and digest via e-mail and other
information collection systems. Information has to be taken in, but how it is
processed, organized and made useful is up for serious debate, say corporate
is the consequence? The quality of their work is suffering say 62 percent of
workers, according to a study on productivity of 1,700 white collar employees
in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Australia and South Africa by LexisNexis. Almost
60 percent of workers have noticed a dramatic increase in information since the
downturn in the world economy, with a good amount of that information being
viewed as primarily useless.
across the globe are just about managing to keep their heads above water in a
rising tide of information," said Michael Walsh, CEO of U.S. Legal Markets
at LexisNexis. "The results of this survey reveal not just how widespread
the problem is, but also the very real impact that information overload has on
professionals' productivity and the bottom line. Employers need to do more than
simply toss their workers a life preserver and hope for the best."
of all the workers in these countries believe they are near their breaking
points with information, and just over half are demoralized by not being able
to manage it all. In the United States, 92 percent of workers
have to search for old e-mails every week. In Australia, 58 percent of workers
say they experience weekly disagreements with co-workers on how to best manage
and organize information.
overload is not constrained by the workplace. A 2008 study from the University of California, San Diego found Americans consume
100,000 words in non-work-related information, or about 34 gigabytes, on
average daily. The study found between 1980 and 2008 bytes consumed in
television, gaming and Internet-centric information increased by 350 percent,
for an annual rate increase of 5.4 percent. With all that information, workers
are admitting their consternation on the job.
astonishing number of employees in the United States-90 percent-report their
companies could do more to help better manage information in the workplace,
said the LexisNexis study. Eighty-two percent of workers across all five
countries in this study say they want information-centric software to function
more closely to the way they actually work.
bad news is that wherever you find knowledge workers around the world, you'll
also find information overload," Walsh said in the same statement. "[B]usinesses
that really come to grips with this problem could gain a competitive advantage
over companies that do not."