The other day I gave a lecture about Information Overload at a technology conference. Afterward a number of attendees approached me to discuss it. I asked one of them – himself employed at a technology company – whether the extent of the problem in his workplace was as bad as I described it in general, and he asserted that it certainly was; no surprise there. But then he remarked that although he lives with the problem every day, my lecture was the first time he gave thought to this matter from this interesting and different angle… he was referring to the manifold aspects of the impact on knowledge worker productivity, such as the longer time to execute tasks or the reduction in creativity engendered by constant interruptions.
This was a glimpse of a problem I think is fairly widespread – many organizations live with IO while being in a sort of denial about its impact on their actual business. Most everyone feels the immediate effect on their stress level and quality of life, but they don’t make the leap to realize that work output suffers as well.
I think that is one key area where we of the IORG can be of use – to raise awareness of what is really going on. If they don’t understand what it’s costing them, businesses will be unlikely to assign resources to fixing the IO problem!
What do you think?