ΓÇ£InfobesityΓÇ¥: A New Health Hazard for Office Workers?
As if we didnΓÇÖt have enough to worry about with our sedentary lifestyle, now office workers need to watch out for signs of ΓÇ£infobesityΓÇ¥ too. Is it time you reviewed your information diet?
Pinging emails. Ringing phones. Refreshing social media streams and news feeds. We need to know a lot of things and we need to know them all now. Or so the desk set up of the average office worker would lead you to believe.
We surround ourselves with devices dedicated to sending us data 24/7 and ΓÇô letΓÇÖs be honest here ΓÇô weΓÇÖre often guilty of gorging ourselves on pointless information.
So perhaps the results of a recent survey by Microsoft shouldnΓÇÖt come as too much of a surprise. It found that 55% of office workers describe themselves as often experiencing information overload. But it doesnΓÇÖt stop there: 43% feel stressed as a result, while 34% would go so far as to say they feel overwhelmed.
And for what? The study also found that 49% of office workers donΓÇÖt find being constantly connected motivating. ThatΓÇÖs before we factor in the disruptions and distractions which non-stop notifications create throughout the working day.
ΓÇ£InfobesityΓÇ¥ and the data diet
Microsoft describes this phenomenon as ΓÇ£infobesityΓÇ¥ and the huge volumes of info themselves as a ΓÇ£data delugeΓÇ¥. But as their Chief Envisioning Office Dave Coplin points out; we canΓÇÖt blame the availability of technology alone. We knowledge workers seem to have an insatiable appetite for information, whether weΓÇÖre in the office, in a meeting, or a thousand miles away on tropical shores.
But maybe itΓÇÖs time to stop feeding it; or at least cut down our intake to healthy levels, much in the same way we try to limit our daily diet of fatty or sugary foods.
After all, soaring stress levels can be just as harmful to health as sitting down for eight hours a day. (Which must make email the Big Mac meal of the information age.)
Fortunately, the fix for ΓÇ£infobesityΓÇ¥ is a little simpler ΓÇô and less expensive ΓÇô than installing a treadmill desk.
What are you waiting for? Switch off some of those notifications now.
Share your top tips: how do┬áyou combat information overload? Is there a cure?