In fact, just over half of respondents often experience information overload, while 58 per cent have checked for work messages in the first 15 minutes of them waking up in the morning. Almost 52 per cent have also done so within 15 minutes of going to bed to check up on work.The shocking statistic, however, is that 40 per cent of those using mobile feel under constant pressure to check it just in case they miss something important, and another 45 per cent feel pressured to respond immediately, no matter where they are or what they’re doing. According to an online YouGov poll, which surveyed more than 2,000 British office workers, of those that have experienced an information overload 33 per cent feel they are drowning in information, and 32 per cent say they can’t keep up with the volume of information. Some 30 per cent say information overload makes them feel like they’re constantly behind at work, with 39 per cent saying they feel they need to work longer hours to get their work done. Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer of Microsoft UK said: “We have a natural tendency to snack on information, which is turning us into a ‘head down’ generation of workers, with our faces constantly buried in technology. We’re gluttons for email, instant messages, videos, and status updates, which although can be valuable, the sheer volume of ‘high calorie’ information clogs up our headspace and impacts our concentration levels. “To regain control, individuals and businesses need to rethink how they use technology, break bad habits and change the role it plays in their lives in order to experience its full potential. To do so, we need to learn to use technology differently so that it enhances, rather than constrains, our work and productivity. We need to evolve our working habits and develop new skills so we can think about the things that really matter, and lean on technology to support us with processing information which it what’s it’s designed to do.” Coplin outlines in ‘The Rise of the Humans: How to Outsmart the Digital Deluge’ how individuals and businesses can survive and thrive in the digital age by taking advantage of the following:
Changing technology habits to harness informationPeople need to know when to switch off and “look up” to engage in the physical world, and know when to switch on and get immersed. Just switching off isn’t the answer. Smart workers know where technology can help, and where it can’t, and make conscious decisions about how and when they use it.
Multi-tasking mediocrityMulti-tasking has become a crucial coping mechanism to help people deal with information overload. However, organisations and individuals need to be mindful that the best focused, creative work comes from people who have both the mental and physical space to temporarily disconnect and harness their own “human capability”.
A new approach to productivityTechnology has been a transformational force enabling us to change what we do, whether at work or at play, for the better. The workplace of the future is going to change our concept of work considerably. As computers get more powerful, much of the work we do today may well be replaced by a world where robots and algorithms do most of the heavy lifting. But this future should not include humans becoming increasingly redundant thanks to technological advancement, instead it should be a world that sees the growing advancement of technological capability as a rising tide that lifts the capacity of human beings to achieve more.
Unboxing the inboxCompanies need to “unbox” their people and their data, empowering them by unleashing them from boundaries of their individual job descriptions and inboxes. This will help them to cut through the hierarchies and give them tools to make new discoveries by fostering a culture of constant innovation and iteration. By Shané Schutte
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