Too much information: Data overload at work damages staff motivation, survey of 2,000 employees shows
HR Editorial, November 28, 2011
Employees in the UK are “drowning in droplets rather than floods of data” at work, and are struggling to navigate, organise and digest this collectively, which is costing businesses.
The study, conducted for Mindjet by One Poll, highlights whilst staff might receive small amounts of data, when it comes from multiple sources it quickly becomes hard to manage, negatively impacting the business bottom line and making workers unhappy.
The average amount of emails received each day is 36, but the survey has shown a third of these still go unread.
Further results showed that employees attend one meeting, make five telephone or conference calls and despite social media hype, just 20% spend any time on social networking sites during a typical day at the office.
These results echo email consumption: data even by the droplet still maintains a negative human impact, and is cited as a cause of workplace unhappiness, with two thirds (65.2%) of office workers saying that the amount of data they are receiving negatively affects their job.
The research, which surveyed 2,000 UK office workers, has found just a small amount of data can leave employees feeling overwhelmed because we are not equipped to manage it. It is the reason why more than one in 10 (14%) are enjoying their job less and what's more, it is having a knock on impact for businesses. The average office worker spends over 21 minutes a day, the equivalent of over two working weeks per year, searching for information they've seen but can't find - that's costing UK business £1,248.51 a year for every employee, based on the average wage.
Chris Harman, regional VP for Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Mindjet, which focuses on improving how people work together, said: "This research has shown it doesn't take much to feel like we're drowning in data at work. It is costing businesses and affecting employee motivation, which is why companies have to encourage new ways of working and help their employees better manage data. We're helping them to do this by providing collaborative work management solutions that focus on visualising data to dramatically improve how people can retain information more effectively, work better together, accomplish goals more successfully and be more productive."
Harman continues: "The way we have to work today involves assimilating information from many sources and the fact we're struggling to do this is a very real business issue - one that will only increase as we enter the big data era. We can't afford to be held back by the volume of information when the climate is so tough. Something as simple as searching for information can have a big effect at a time when businesses are looking to free up employees time to be more innovative and productive in order to stimulate the growth most are looking for in 2012."