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Information overload drains Swedish work hours: study

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Information overload drains Swedish work hours: study
16:55 CET+01:00
Swedes are wasting up to 20 working hours a month dealing with an increasing flow of information, a new report published on Tuesday showed.

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.

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.

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