Digital tools, essential to our activities, have taken the professional world by storm, offering organisations unprecedented agility. However, the intensifying use of digital means of communications is increasing a phenomenon: an overload of information, also dubbed infobesity. And with it come significant consequences on employees' well being and productivity. Whilst the latter are indeed increasingly well equipped to receive messages, they remain under- or mis-prepared to handle them. They have the tools, but not yet the method.
This phenomenon remains relatively under-explored, despite being behind a skyrocketing number of cases of chronic stress and addictive behaviours linked to the over-connectedness of employees. It is today crucial to address this growing societal issue by enabling employees to gain and develop key competencies to evolve in an increasingly digitised professional environment. It will be utmost necessary to ensure a truly "tech-savvy" workforce and guarantee that digitalisation will drive positive impacts for all. Organisations themselves will need to implement solutions to canalise and guide informational flows, which will also require new managerial and organisational skills.
The objective of the Info Flow Savvy project is to address the growing needs for organisational and individual know-how induced by the rise in digital informational fluxes.
Through the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, it aims to allow organisations and employees to better master the impact of digitalisation on their work life, with the goal of improving both well-being and productivity at work.
Infobesity covers both the overload of available information, the saturation of cognitive abilities to manage these information and the excess of communications to broadcast them.
The phenomenon is not new: the quantity of information available in the world has overstepped for a long time human capacities to analyse, classify and memorize all of it. However, over the past thirty years, it has strengthened through digitalisation and has expanded to everyone. Information have gone from a rare resource to an abundant sometimes redundant and above all continuous flow. This evolution turns the needs of human skills from knowing where to find the information which used to be essential, into the current challenge of mastering an efficient and effective three-levelled action of filtering, processing and sharing the information.
Meanwhile, digital business practices are growing exponentially, and thus increase the speed of information flow, heightening expectations for ever faster or even immediate feedback. This reinforces the matrix evolution of management systems. Information are coming at us continuously and from all sides. The rhythm at which we receive information shapes our work organization and our professional relationships. The informative stake then takes a temporal form making the time dedicated to its treatment overtaking productive time slot.
The purpose of the Info Flow Savvy project is:
- to develop our agility dealing with information,
- to regain connection freedom and balance,
- to avoid shifting from over-information to mis-information
- and to retake power over the decision-making process that is increasingly sliding out of our control.
Dealing with the information flow in a serene and efficient way will be the result of
- a better use of professional digital tools,
- the implementation of measures encouraging collective intelligence in the company
- and the re-appropriation of working time to serve back human needs rather than following urgent notifications.
At an individual level, the expected benefits of the project are : reduction of feelings of pressure and stress, increased job satisfaction and work motivation, and having the concept of emergency sent back to its exceptional nature. Collectively, the outcomes are expected to improve human relations, especially an evolution towards a greater expression of solidarity and serenity at the workplace as well as a new vision of efficiency considered on a collective scale rather than on an individual one.
In order to qualify the phenomenon of Infobesity, identify its patterns and above all co-create practical solutions and actions to reverse its negative effects, IMS Luxembourg invites all company members to encourage all employees whose company is part of the network to answer an anonymous survey as part of its professional activities.
Training courses will be designed to enable employees to effectively handle the excessive flow of information both at the individual and managerial level.
In the meantime, volunteer companies member of IMS Luxembourg will test thanks to pilots, technical systems or measures which should limit the information flow or allow to deal with it in a more efficient way.
In a spirit of raising awareness, the diffusion of an informative and preventive tool about information overload will be developed. This tool will consist of a mini quiz and will provide information and solutions based on the Info Flow Savvy project findings.