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Information overload drains Swedish work hours: study

The Local/rm · 22 Mar 2011, 16:55

Published: 22 Mar 2011 16:55 GMT+01:00

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The study carried out by market research company YouGov for Canon Sweden, showed that almost half of Swedes surveyed spent at least ten hours a month retrieving or searching for information. A quarter claimed to spend almost one hour a day – a whopping 20 hours per month.

Behind this development lies the increasing flow of information needed to perform our duties, antiquated technology and lack of a uniform policy on information storage within companies.

The thousands of emails that flood inboxes and the constant interruptions by text messages from colleagues needing our urgent attention don’t do much to help.

“Most feel that they receive more emails today than they did a year ago, and studies have shown that the amount of information we are in contact with daily doubles every 18 months,” Christoffer Bohrn, product manager at Swedish Canon, told The Local.

According to the Dagens Nyheter daily, 20 hours a month spent on retrieving information means a fall in production of 7,700 kronor ($1,219) per month per employee, if an average working hour is estimated at 387 kronor.

This means a loss of almost 80,000 kronor per employee per annum.

Christoffer Bohrn argued that it is clear that this is a problem that has been growing over a longer period of time.

One of the reasons is that the structure of companies is different today compared to in the past.

“Before, one person would be in charge of a specific duty, but today it is more a case of everyone being able to do everything,“ he said.

To solve this time consuming conundrum, companies need to come up with an efficient way of storing and retrieving information.

Story continues below…

In the end it comes down to filing, although today’s archives are far from the dusty filing cabinets of yesteryear.

In order to maximise efficiency companies must find a solution to store information in a way that gives the right people access to the right files.

“It must be simple and user-friendly. Everyone in the company must be able to understand both its use and purpose,“ said Bohrn.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:24 March 22, 2011 by xavidx
They need SharePoint :)
21:02 March 22, 2011 by kenny8076
387SEK average hourly wages?! is this correct?
03:20 March 23, 2011 by jackx123
useless employees who cannot prioritize their work
09:11 March 23, 2011 by karex

I spend more time trying to find information stored in SharePoint than I would have if it had been printed and filed the old-fashioned way - in a binder...
00:40 March 30, 2011 by markevertz
Great article. This is clearly a global problem and the last I saw was info doubling at a clip of 24 months about a year ago...so this tells me the problem is getting work.

Personal take is that technology and digital proliferation of content got us into this and it'll need to get us out -- particularly as it relates to filtering out the noise, delivering personalized relevance and using technology to automate mundane and repetitive tasks.

In doing some research for my post this week "5 Steps to Maximize Your Attention at Work" http://bit.ly/eII3FS I also resurrected an awesome piece by Clay Johnson from a year or so that gave some fantastic advice - namely… for people to focus on managing their attention better instead of managing the deluge of information coming at them every day - with some great tips to keep from getting distracted.

His article and Twitter handle are linked in my post as well. Keep writing and I hope my post is helpful to you and your readers.


Mark Evertz

Knowledge Warrior

& Problem solver
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