You know the scenario only too well: your boss has asked you to unearth that vital piece of information that he desperately needs for his presentation to the CEO and – guess what – you just can’t for the life of you track it down. Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone: the average employee wastes more than one-and-a-half hours a week looking for documents they have misplaced; that works out at a whopping £29 billion in lost productivity every year.
London employees waste the most time trying to locate missing documentation (1.89 hours a week), whereas workers in Northern Ireland appear the most organised, as they only spend 1.17 hours a week doing so, according to research conducted by information management specialist the EDM Group.
In terms of business sectors, healthcare workers appear to be the most absent-minded (1.64 hours); at the other end of the scale, we have retail workers, who fare better at just 1.33 hours a week.
And spare a thought for the two per cent of office workers (some 491,000 poor souls) who spend more than five hours every week trying to find mislaid files.
One of the main reasons for this, says the EDM Group, is that people have to deal with far more data and material at work than ever before. In fact, its survey shows that 56% of people claim they receive more information now than they did three years ago, with 18% insisting that in the same timeframe they have seen an increase of more than 50% in the amount of documentation they have to handle.