‘Info overload’ stresses out Singaporeans

Image courtesy of Elisa Ventur

More and more Singaporeans are experiencing the effects of ‘Information Overload’ since the pandemic began, with ever-increasing number of data sources, difficulty finding information and not having the right digital tools for hybrid work all impacting stress levels, performance and job satisfaction for employees, a new research from OpenText shows.

Commissioned by OpenText and conducted by 3Gem in March 2022, the research covered 27,000 consumers who were anonymously surveyed across the globe, including 1,000 respondents in Singapore. The others were surveyed in the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Australia, Canada, India, Brazil and Japan. 

Close to nine in every 10 (87%) Singaporeans now feel that information overload – driven by factors including overload across devices (43%), too many passwords to remember (37%) or too many apps to check each day (46%) – has contributed to their daily stress. 

This compares with the 51% who indicated in a similar OpenText survey conducted in March 2020 that information overload contributed to their daily stress.

As our work lives continue to spill into personal lives with hybrid working, less than half (46%)  of employees in Singapore feel they are equipped with the right digital tools to work at home. This has dropped from 74% at the onset of the pandemic.

A third (32%) of Singaporean respondents say they have to use 11 or more accounts, resources, tools and apps on a daily basis. This compares with just 16% who said this was the case two years ago, showing that the information people need to access resides within an increasing number of data repositories and applications.

Due to the siloed nature of where information sits within organisations, almost half (47%) of employees in Singapore say that they normally spend, on average, one or more hours per day searching on company networks or shared systems for specific work files or pieces of information just to do their job.

“What we’ve come to realise is that information on its own is not the answer,” said Sandy Ono, EVP and chief marketing officer at OpenText. “The answer comes when you break down siloes and centralize information. Patterns and trends emerge, insights are gleaned, and better decisions are made. That is the information advantage.”

Information scattered across multiple locations is another reason for the difficulties they face, with a half (50%) of respondents reporting it’s hampering their ability to find the information they need to do their job. 

One-third (32%) feel that their colleagues not saving the latest version of documents to shared systems also hampered their ability to do their job, while two in five (42%) feel that not knowing where to find the most up-to-date information also contributes.

Unfortunately, poor information management and these kinds of sustained challenges are having negative effect on employees. So much so that nearly half (49%) feel that it is having an impact on their mental well-being and stress levels. 

In addition, at least 50% indicate it is having a detrimental effect on their performance at work, 41% feel it is negatively impacting their overall job satisfaction and more than half (51%) say that it is having a direct impact on their work-life balance.