Saturday, 8th August 2020

Employees struggle with ‘information overload’ as working from home becomes the norm

One in three UK office workers do not feel equipped with the digital tools to move to remote working.

New research from OpenText reveals a lack of suitable digital tools combined with ‘information overload’ is impacting UK employee productivity and stress levels during the coronavirus crisis.

The new data – from a survey of 2,000 UK respondents – reveals 34 per cent of UK workers with office-based jobs do not feel equipped with the digital tools to effectively shift their work to a remote environment, shining a light on the productivity challenge faced by office workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, ‘information overload’ is contributing to stress levels on a daily basis: 18% of respondents are stressed by ‘information overload’ across devices, 8% feel they can’t unplug and are dealing with information 24/7, and another 8% feel overwhelmed with too many data sources and apps to check each day.

The advent of ‘information overload’

Almost half (47%) of UK respondents agree that the number of information sources – email, news feeds, diaries, social media sites, company drive, shared drive etc. – they check each day has increased in the last five years. On average, more than one in ten (13%) UK respondents now use more than ten accounts, tools and apps every day.

The data suggests this ‘information overload’ is having a significant impact on both personal life and work. Just two-fifths (41%) of working UK respondents are able to limit the number of tools, apps and resources they access to complete a work project to three or fewer. In fact, a third (31%) of UK workers typically spend more than a minute searching for a specific file or piece of information for work purposes. Only a fifth (21%) can usually find the file they require in less than ten seconds.

“Consumers increasingly use digital services for everything from communicating with loved ones to accessing healthcare and buying their groceries. Similarly, many businesses are turning to new digital services to ensure staff can work safely from home,” said Lou Blatt, SVP and CMO, OpenText. “Users have proven willing to adopt new services and tools, but also face challenges in managing multiple accounts and sources of information. Companies need to recognise this trend and find ways to reduce complexity, simplify workflows and processes and create compelling customer and employee experiences.”

Information requirements for the ‘new normal’

While a quarter (24%) of UK respondents admit remaining motivated would be their biggest challenge if working from home long-term, one in ten (11%) say access issues would be the main problem – from accessing work emails to accessing corporate file systems and content. Collaboration is also a concern: 12 per cent say collaborating and sharing information and files with colleagues would be their biggest challenge. In fact, despite the prevalence of work applications and tools to check and use each day, a fifth (20%) of working UK respondents admit to having shared work-related files on a personal file sharing system, such as DropBox.

“Poor information management has major implications for a business,” said Geoff Sheppard, RVP Enterprise, Europe, OpenText. “Employee productivity can suffer as staff struggle with access issues whilst security can often become an afterthought as staff look for workarounds. With data often residing in multiple, disparate systems, an organisation’s pursuit of a single version of the truth can become virtually impossible.”

“The reality is manual classification and filing processes are error-prone. By implementing automation, businesses can make the most of their information and provide a seamless user experience for staff, customers and partners. This is even more crucial now as organisations adapt and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the business landscape.”

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