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Information overload hitting employee productivity

Businesses are not easing information overload, with just two-fifths having a process in place to capture, record and retrieve business communications. New research by TeleWare, has uncovered challenges experienced by employees with regards to information overload. With businesses of all shapes and sizes facing productivity issues as a result.
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Over a third of employees have wasted significant chunks the working day because of difficulties retrieving valuable information. Contributor Steve Haworth, CEO – TeleWare.

Businesses are not easing information overload, with just two-fifths having a process in place to capture, record and retrieve business communications. New research by TeleWare, a leading communication technology business, has uncovered challenges experienced by employees with regards to information overload. With businesses of all shapes and sizes facing productivity issues as a result.

A survey of 2,000 UK employees, conducted by 3Gem on behalf of TeleWare, revealed that significant employee frustrations stem from misplacing information in the workplace. Over a third (36 percent) of employees admitted they have wasted a lot of the working day attempting to resolve an issue when they have forgotten valuable information. A similar number (34 percent) explained that forgetting information has led them to deal ineffectively with customers, suppliers or clients.

Whilst around a quarter have missed important deadlines (26 percent) or let their colleagues down (25 percent) due to not having the necessary information front of mind.

Britain is not looked upon highly when it comes to workplace productivity. According to the latest G7 productivity analysis from ONS, in terms of output per hour worked, the UK scored 15.1 percent below the average for the rest of the G7 advanced economies.

Technology has significantly contributed to the explosion of information at our fingertips. With employees clearly struggling to manage this, and workplace productivity dipping as a result, it’s vital that businesses equip their employees with tools to help them be most effective at work. Those that don’t not only risk reduced productivity, but may also be missing out on significant benefits.

Employees are aware of where they are lacking and agreed that there are significant business benefits to be had if they could record and recall information more effectively. These include: Better customer service (52 percent); Improved employee productivity (48 percent) and Increased quality of work (42 percent).

Professor Martin Conway, a psychologist and expert on memory at City University London, comments on the issue: “One of the major problems with current data storage, particularly big data, is the incompatibility of these systems with human memory and human cognition more generally. Until the interface of these systems can be made more compatible with how the human mind works, the situation will continue as it is with all its shortcomings. And may even worsen as data storage increases.”

Steve Haworth, CEO of TeleWare, comments: “Whilst a lot of the elements highlighted in the research may seem like minor annoyances – forgetting information, missing deadlines, letting people down – the knock-on impact on productivity can be substantial.

Employees are clearly aware of this, as most evident from the research was an overarching agreement that an ability to record and recall information quicker and easier would help employees’ performance at work. However, just two in five (40 percent) employees have a process in place to capture, record and consequently retrieve business communications. Highlighting a huge potential productivity pitfall.”

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