Calculating Information Overload

A year ago, we announced that Information Overload would be the 2008 “Problem-of-the-Year.”  Now that we know that Information Overload costs the U.S. economy a minimum of $900 billion per year, it appears that it will be next year’s problem as well.

Whether sitting at a desk in the office, in a conference room, in one’s home office, or at a client, the likelihood of being able to complete a task (what many call “work”) without interruption is nil.  Content creation has gone off the charts and new forms of content are being pushed towards us at an ever increasing pace.  It’s not just e-mail, junk mail, text messages, phone calls, and monthly reports anymore.

Information Overload causes markedly lower productivity, diminished comprehension levels, compromised concentration levels, and less innovation.  According to a recent Basex survey, it also causes health problems: 35% of knowledge workers experience work-related back and/or neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, headaches, or stress related symptoms.

One reason the problem continues unchecked is that few people seem to recognize its cost to their organization.  Last week, to help companies understand the extent of their financial exposure, we launched a free, Web-based Information Overload Calculator.  The calculator allows you to calculate the impact of the problem on your own organization.

So far, well over 1000 people, in industries ranging from advertising to zoology, have calculated their exposure.  If you haven’t yet calculated your exposure, please fasten your seatbelt and go to http://www.iocalculator.com.  You’ll be glad you did.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.   David M. Goldes is President of Basex.

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