UK employees suffering from information overload, says Microsoft

'Infobesity' is raising stress levels and lowering the productivity of UK workers, a Microsoft report reveals

UK employees suffering from information overload

In a world where the internet is dictating our lives, the line between work and home life is becoming increasingly blurred. Whether you are out for a family meal or just waking up, work emails are a mere button-click away. But a new poll from YouGov commissioned by Microsoft, has revealed that a constant need to feel connected is causing employees to feel stressed and unhappy.

The poll of more than 2,000 British office workers found that over 55% experience ‘infobesity’ – information overload, in other words. Meanwhile, an incredible 58% admitted that they check for work messages within the first 15 minutes of waking up in the morning, with almost 52% having also checked within 15 minutes of going to bed. And things don’t get much brighter with the revelation that one in ten of us can never switch off from work.

Ironically, the problems seem to stem from the very fact that modern technology is advancing at such an astounding rate. A notable 40% of those who use mobiles said they feel constant pressure to check it, ‘just in case work sends us something important’. The line between home and work becomes even more blurred when one considers the 45% of those who feel that they should reply to work emails instantly – no matter where they were or what they were doing.

The need to be constantly connected also affects workplace productivity with 38% of respondents admitting to proactively looking for online distractions to break up the monotony of the working day. A further 49% claimed that they do not find being constantly connected to information particularly motivating. Thus, for all the good that technology can do us, switching off from time to time would probably serve us pretty well indeed. Alternatively, we can put the technology to better use.

“Here is where we go wrong: we use technology to speed up old ways of working; instead we should use technology to transform work and fundamentally reimagine how we use information,” said Dave Coplin, UK chief envisioning officer at Microsoft. “The good news is that I can see signs everywhere that we are beginning to turn things around. Technologies and tools – and best practices – are emerging that help us make good use of the data deluge – and turn it into a Big Data goldmine instead.”

Right, you’ve read this now. Time to get back to work! 

Tom Davis
Tom Davis

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