Research Shows that Searching for Information at Work Wastes Time and Money
While you may need that file or email correspondence to get your work done, the problem is that activity actually keeps you from accomplishing what you need to do. Why? Because you are literally inundated with hundreds of emails, attachments, contact requests and social media correspondence. That means you have to spend a lot of time sifting and searching to get to exactly what you need.
For many businesses around the world, that means a lot of wasted time and money that could have been used in a more productive and cost-efficient way. Numerous studies in the U.S. have found results that indicate that information searches during the workday practically kill the hope of any productivity:
- A recent IHS Knowledge Collections Webinar provided an interesting statistic that concluded that an engineer’s time spent searching for information has increased by 13% since 2002.
- SearchYourCloud revealed that “workers took up to 8 searches to find the right document and information.”
- Freelancers spend almost 30 minutes a day searching emails.
- A McKinsey report found that “employees spend 1.8 hours every day—9.3 hours per week, on average—searching and gathering information. Put another way, businesses hire 5 employees but only 4 show up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.”Source: Time Searching for Information.
- Interact reported that “19.8 percent of business time – the equivalent of one day per working week – is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job effectively.
- IDC data shows that “the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information….60% [of company executives] felt that time constraints and lack of understanding of how to find information were preventing their employees from finding the information they needed.” Source:Information: The Lifeblood of the Enterprise.
In Europe, there are similar findings of how information searches waste money. For example, Lookeen shared this finding:
“If all employees are working a regular eight-hour workday and spend 25% (2 hours) of their time (often wasted) in the search for relevant information, then you have invested 60 Euros per employee – every day. So all total, over 13,000 Euros per employee per year has been spent, purely on a general search for relevant information. In our calculation, we assume conservatively that at least 1 hour per day will be spent on search, within the companies own data pool (emails/documents) per employee. Now we have 220 working days per year spent on search, where an employee is actively looking through internal documents for at least 1 hour per day.”
These time and cost findings really put it into perspective how much resources are really being wasted.
However, the good news is that there are companies like Findo that are working on changing this by applying artificial intelligence to the issue. Now, there is a way to put machine-learning to work to learn what you are looking for across all devices and channels by entering a few keywords. Then, the more you use it, the more it understands how you search and what you need. That means it gets better and faster at helping you locate a contact phone number, file, or email conversation.
Imagine the time and money that can now be saved plus all the extra minutes and hours available to get your work done. This gives us just a glimpse of what the future may be like as we continue to rely on data and digital information to drive all our work. While this is just one way that small businesses can begin to save money, there are many other ways in which a company can better manage their finances, such as reducing or deferring taxes and monitoring risks.
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