Negosentro.com | Reducing Information Overload for Employees Through Effective Messaging | While data collection and analysis influence nearly every decision in modern organizations, it can also be counterproductive. Excess data contributes to information overload. It refers to the stream of irrelevant professional and personal information that your employees are exposed to daily.
As this trend grows, it negatively impacts their wellbeing and that of the company. Information overload is also known as information explosion, infobesity, and information anxiety.
Causes of Information Overload in the Workplace
The more data-driven your organization is, the higher your chances of experiencing information overload. General causes of this phenomenon include:
- An abundance of information-sharing platforms. It’s easier for your workforce to communicate via telephone, email, video conferencing, chat apps, and social media. This situation also contributes to the duplication of information.
- Faster output of new information. While in the past your employees would receive new data intermittently, today it happens in real time. This continuous stream of information can easily overwhelm them.
- Large amounts of historical resources to sift through. An abundance of incoming information means you have more to store and review in the future.
- Inaccuracies and contradictions in the available information, which cause misinformation. This situation worsens when you don’t have the right tools to process and authenticate your data.
- Ease of sharing. With the prevalence of computers, smart mobile devices, and fast bandwidth, any employee can share information faster and more frequently. In the past, this task was reserved for authorized personnel only, who disseminated information in an orderly manner.
Effects of Information Overload on Organizations
According to research, each person on earth accounts for 1.7 MB of data created every second. More than 300 billion emails are sent daily. While these statistics are mind-blowing, the amount of useful information is negligible. As more people come online and content creation capabilities improve, this problem will only get worse for companies. Information overload has the following adverse consequences:
- Low Productivity
Even though your employees sift through several emails and other resources, they still miss some crucial information. They waste time seeking clarification, browsing the intranet, and calling colleagues for assistance. Their phones and other personal devices also cause distractions through new messages, social media posts, and other unnecessary updates.
- It Affects Your Health
The stress from information overload can cause your professional and personal relationships to deteriorate. You’ll also experience anxiety if you’re always overwhelmed by incoming information. These mental disorders also have an impact on your physical health. They can worsen conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, eating problems, and insomnia.
- It Reduces Overall Organizational Performance
An overwhelmed and stressed workforce experiences low morale. Information overload also impacts team coordination by interfering with communication channels. Confusion, overlapping regulations, and missed deadlines result in low-quality output.
Other than your employees, these effects hurt your overall brand. Inefficiency impacts your bottom line by increasing costs and reducing revenue. It also leads to high employee turnover. You can’t remain competitive if you fail to attract and retain a skilled workforce.
How to Reduce Information Overload for Employees
Choose Communication Channels Wisely
With several communication options available, it’s advisable to outline standard channels that improve organizational efficiency. Emails are suitable for general broadcasts to the entire workforce, while apps such as Stack work well for real time updates. Project management tools include Basecamp, Asana, and Trello.
Phone calls, video conferencing, and face-to-face solutions are useful for passing sensitive information to smaller teams. Digital signage is one of the most effective solutions for workplace communication. You can conveniently deploy company content, as well as that of third-party media players to touch, non-touch, and wall-mounted screens.
Consider the Relevance of Communications
If you keep sending irrelevant information to your employees, they’ll develop a habit of ignoring most of it. Before dissemination, determine whether it helps the intended recipients or wastes their time.
Streamlined communication helps you avoid workplace disputes and reduce time wastage, which increases overall efficiency. You can optimize it by clearly stating each project member’s role, assigning competent leaders, and outlining the relevant communication channels. Other tips include summarizing lengthy correspondence, putting vital details in writing, and creating a glossary of company jargon.
Initiate a Minor Restructure of the Organization
Positive company culture also plays a role in curbing information overload. You can improve it by putting the interests of your employees first. Encourage them to provide feedback on multitasking, communication channels, and internal processes. A focus on fewer but high-quality projects increases productivity while giving them enough time to recharge.
Make Sure Your Employees Have the Tools They Need
On top of investing in relevant hardware and software, your workforce should be on the same page concerning company expectations. Solutions include cloud computing, email management, and content filtering tools. Conduct a thorough evaluation to ensure you provide only the most suitable tools.
Ask Your Employees About Communication Pain Points
You won’t have progress if your employees show resistance to the solutions mentioned above. Motivate them to provide feedback and suggestions through surveys, anonymous complaints, skip-level meetings, and exit interviews. An open-door policy gives them the confidence to offer valuable ideas without the fear of repercussions.