Information Overload Costing $650 Billion

    December 26, 2007

Information overload is being called the 2008 "Problem-of-the-Year" by research firm Basex.

Information overload reduces employee efficiency and overall productivity and has been flagged as a key challenge for companies that operate in the knowledge economy. The cost of unnecessary interruptions is estimated to be $650 billion per year in the United States according to Basex, which took into account, decreased productivity and stifled innovation.

"The ‘Problem-of-the-Year’ designation tells us how serious an issue information overload has become," said Jonathan B. Spira, chief analyst at Basex. "Nothing has been more disruptive to the way we work than information overload."

No matter where one is working the chances of completing a task without interruption is small. "Normally we designate a person or product of the year," said David M. Goldes, president and senior analyst at Basex. "2008 is the year we begin to solve the problem of information overload in a substantive way."

Intel, a company with 94,000 employees, views the problem as serious. At Intel we estimated the impact of information overload on each knowledge worker at up to eight hours a week," says Nathan Zeldes, a Principal Engineer focusing on computing productivity issues at Intel. "We are now looking at applying new work behaviors that can help reduce this impact".

Spira recommends to resist the urge to immediately follow up an email with instant messaging or a phone call. He said the subject line should clearly reflect the topic and urgency of an email. He added to use "reply all" only when necessary.