Employees need top-down policies to resist tech deluge

by 11 Jan 2012

The mountain of inefficiently handled data received by corporate information systems is silently killing productivity and comes at a cost of $3bn a year, a new report has found.  40% of 400 Australian and New Zealand based organisations surveyed indicated they were suffering an ‘information overload’ – an increase from 34% two years ago.

“We are verging on an information disorder, beyond an information glut,” Neville Vincent, general manager of Hitachi Data Systems, which was joint organiser of the report with Deloitte Access Economics said.

And despite a strong work ethic, it seems Australians form one of the least productive workforces in the world. Most managers estimated they could reduce the amount of time employees spent searching and accessing data by 30-50% if they had more efficient data management systems.

To make matters worse, Dr Ben Searle, senior lecturer of psychology at Macquarie University, said information overload was a key driver of psychological illness in the workplace, and solutions to the problem were not easy to come by.

Common solutions offered by managers, such as only checking e-mails at certain times during the day, are difficult to implement and often don’t work unless they are part of company’s policies and are driven from the top down.

“These solutions won’t work if your company doesn’t embrace it,” Searle said. “If a culture exists where a reply to an email is expected straight away, it will not work.”

Additionally, Marc Peter, director of technology at LexisNexis which conducted an International Workplace Productivity study last year, said most workers admit data overload is causing their quality of work to suffer.


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