Professionals spend most time at work – survey

2010-10-20 14:15

A survey conducted in five countries shows that South African professionals in a typical workday spend most hours at their job.

The 2010 LexisNexis International Workplace Productivity Survey released today found that South African professionals spent on average 9.5 hours of their day in the office.

Their counterparts in the United States spent 8.8 hours at their job while in the United Kingdom professionals were in the office for 8.2 hours.

In China and Australia 8.1 hours and 8.6 hours of time spent in the office were recorded respectively.

The study in South Africa was fielded from June to July among 300 professionals, the knowledge and information provider said.

“The survey found that the amount of information workers have to manage for their jobs continues to increase at an alarming rate, with much of it irrelevant to employees getting their jobs done.”

With the increase in information, it was not surprising that 82% of South African professionals wished they could spend less time organising, and more time using the information that came their way.

According to the survey, nine in 10 South African professionals (88%) agreed that not being able to access the right information at the right moment wasted their time.

Given the rising tide of information, it was not surprising that the majority of workers across markets (62%) admitted that their quality of work was suffering at times.

Employees admitted that the quality of their work suffered, with many missing deadlines, meetings and delivering incomplete documents because they were not able to sort through the information that needed fast enough.

“Workers believe they could be more productive at work if the tools they had access to were designed to work the way that they worked.”

The study found that employees were now looking to their employers to help them find customised solutions.

“Although companies are aware of the challenges of information overload, and have taken some steps to manage it, gaps still exists between actions they’ve taken and what employees needs are.”

The study said that professionals had now begun to implement their own techniques to cut through the clutter.

Professionals made use of spam filters, web dashboard tools, RSS feeds and Twitter decks to help them prioritise and filter the information they received at work.

The productivity of 25% of South African professionals was negatively affected because they did not have consistent access to the internet at work.

“This excludes the time that professionals need to attend to the conversation and stream of information they receive from their social media networks.”

Workers reported feelings of dejection from this endless stream of information and believed they would soon reach their breaking point, the study said.

According to Billy Last, chief executive of LexisNexis South Africa, globally business and legal professionals were demanding sophisticated online research tools that were not only capable of searching, sifting and filtering through information, but tools that were intelligent enough to evaluate results and tailor them to the users’ specific needs.

“Now that we are in this new reality, it’s time to adapt or be left behind by those who are able to use technology for business benefit.”

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