According to BMGI, information overload is on the list of top 10 problems faced by businesses everywhere. The truth is that information overload doesn’t just affect businesses. It’s a serious problem for individuals, too, and it affects them both at work and at home.
The good news is that document management systems (DMS) can address many of these challenges effectively. In this article, we’ll first explore why information overload is a problem. Then we’ll discuss how DMS can help your organization stay in control of information and stay productive.
Why Is Information Overload a Problem?
Ever since the Gutenberg printing press was invented, there has been more information readily available than any individual can absorb in their lifetime. Nowadays, the amount of information that is being generated is simply mind-boggling. Every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created.
Unfortunately, the human mind can only process a certain amount of information each day. Too much information will result in decreased productivity and stress.
The Biggest Offender
Even though most of the information is stored online, the biggest offender for information overload is actually email. Unlike recent news articles or blog posts, email demands to be read and dealt with several times a day. According to the Harvard Business Review, employees spend 2 hours a day reading and responding to email.
Of course once employees check email, they often get sidetracked with social media, online articles, and unrelated websites. But email has become so pervasive that more than half of all employees check their email while they’re going to the bathroom.
How It Affects Employee Productivity
While it’s nice that your employees can receive immediate responses to their queries via email, email actually diminishes your employee productivity. That’s because it takes employees on average 24 minutes to get back into productive mode. Email interrupts your employees’ workday a lot, and it makes them feel stressed out and unable to catch up.
How It Affects Organizations
Organizations have to deal with the consequences from information overload, too. Employees are less productive than they should be, and it takes longer to get anything done. On the bright side, organizations are the ones that can do something about it.
Whether your company decides to do something as drastic as physically preventing employees from sending email during certain hours or adopts a more subtle approach is up management. But clearly there is a need to address the problem of information overload in most organizations. Fortunately, document management can help.
Information Overload Must Be Addressed at the Organizational Level
While information overload affects mostly individuals, it’s something that must be addressed at the organizational level in order to be effective. After all, if employees are expected to respond to their emails quickly, then they are going to suffer from frequent work interruptions.
Here are a few suggestions that your company may consider for handling emails to improve workspace efficiency:
- Institute a few hours in the morning where employees cannot send or check emails to encourage productivity.
- Ask employees to schedule email time a few times per day instead of every time they receive a message.
- Requiring employees to properly utilize the “urgent” and “not urgent” designations.
- Teach employees how to send short, concise, and actionable emails.
Document Management Keeps Information under Control
The problem with the onslaught of information is that nobody can use all of that knowledge. Consequently, most of the information employees consume is wasted. And a lot of it isn’t even related to what they do at work.
Besides, information is only useful if you can find it when you need it to take action. That’s what your DMS is for. When your organization embraces document management, you will find that it’s easier for your employees to stay productive and focused.
Instead of using email to get things done around the office, your company can rely on document management to get things done. In eFileCabinet, we use workflows to help employees and organizations stay on track.
Workflows Keep Documents Moving
Whether you need authorization from someone else or require the assistance of other employees, workflows can be used to move documents along throughout your company. That’s because your DMS is more than a file manager: It’s designed to get things done.
Replace Emails with Workflow Tasks
Email is a tool that’s easy to use for almost anyone. Consequently, it’s often used for tasks it’s not well suited for. For example, employees may email questions back and forth even when a phone call would have taken up less time.
Your managers can also use workflows to find out what their subordinates are doing. This alleviates additional back-and-forth emails about availabilities and deadlines.
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