The Negative Effects of Information Overload on the Workforce

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Information overload affects—and afflicts—both individual knowledge workers, struggling to perform their jobs while drowning in data, and entire office organizations, whose productivity and customer care suffer as a consequence.
Writing in the 26 June 2007 issue of the online Canadian law journal Slaw, Ted Tjaden succinctly summed up the deleterious effects of information overload on office workers:
Numerous studies suggest that information overload makes us dumber: Persons exposed to excessive amounts of information are less productive, prone to make poor decisions, and risk suffering serious stress-related diseases… Sufferers from information overload:
  • Become highly selective and ignore a large amount of information or give up and don’t go beyond the first results in many cases
  • Need more time to reach a decision
  • Make mistakes
  • Have difficulties in identifying the relationship between the details and the overall perspective and
  • Waste time
E.M. Hallowell [in a 2005 Harvard Business Review article] has actually identified the negative neurological effects of information overload by describing it as ‘attention deficit trait (ADT)’.
Says Hallowell: “ADT is now epidemic in organizations. The core symptoms are distractibility, inner frenzy, and impatience. People with ADT have difficulty staying organized, setting priorities, and managing time.”
Sedarius Tekara Perrotta, president of Neuron Global, states, “ To truly understand the impact of Information Overload on an organization is to understand all the lost opportunities it causes and inefficiencies produced. Neuron Global exists to solve this problem by organizing, synthesizing and delivering information that is easy to find, use and remember.