Wednesday, March 19, 2008

National Workplace Survey Reveals American Professionals Overwhelmed, Headed for “Breaking Point”

A national workplace survey reports that more than seven in ten American white collar workers feel inundated with information at their workplace, while more than two in five feel that they are headed for an information “breaking point.” The survey of 650 white collar and knowledge workers found that employees across virtually every industry are affected by information overload, but that the problem is particularly acute in the legal profession – with almost eight in ten legal professionals saying they are increasingly overloaded with information.

The 2008 Workplace Productivity Survey, commissioned by LexisNexis – a leading global provider of business information solutions – is the first of this scope to look at the rising problem of information overload for the U.S. legal and professional fields.

Broad findings point to trouble
According to the survey, a majority of employees in the professional and legal fields feel they are close to a breaking point, where they will be unable to effectively process or handle any increase in information flow. The survey also indicates that companies have not provided the right tools employees need to cope with this growing information burden. Survey results reveal:

• Sixty-two percent of professionals report that they spend a lot of time sifting through irrelevant information to find what they need; 68 percent wish they could spend less time organizing information and more time using the information that comes their way;

• Workers admit that not being able to lay their hands on the right information at the right time impedes their ability to work efficiently; 85% agree that not being able to access the right information at the right time is a huge time-waster;

• More than 40 percent of the survey participants indicate an inability to handle future increases in information flow;

• While an average workday for white collar workers is 8.89 hours, the survey finds that on average, 7.89 working hours are used conducting research, attending meetings, and searching for previously created documents, and;

• White collar professionals spend an average of 2.3 hours daily conducting online research, with one in ten spending four hours or more on an average day.

“The information age has brought the American professional workforce to an information overload,” said Mike Walsh, CEO of LexisNexis U.S. Legal Markets. “The results of the survey clearly suggest opportunities for American businesses to ease this growing burden by providing workers with the right technology, training and tools. Companies that take action on this issue will realize higher employee productivity and satisfaction.”

Legal Professionals Seek Answers
In the legal field, the issue is even more pressing. Eighty percent of legal professionals feel overloaded with information, and 70 percent say they spend a lot of time sifting through irrelevant information. Nearly half say that research takes up so much of their time that they occasionally omit billing clients for this work.

Other survey findings that demonstrate challenges for the legal industry and point to some solutions include:

• 90 percent of legal professionals agree that not being able to access the right information at the right time is a huge time-waster;

• 95 percent of legal professionals believe that a legal research tool designed for their specific area of practice is important;

• 79 percent think it is important to have a legal research tool that integrates research into workflow;

• 78 percent feel that it is important to have a legal research tool that provides analysis and expertise, and;

• On average, legal professionals say they handle 36.7 emails daily, with 22 percent reporting that they receive 50 or more work-related emails in a typical day.

“While the LexisNexis study points out that legal professionals are even more inundated than your average white collar professional, the results also suggest some possible ways technology can help them cope with the ever-increasing amount of information coming through their doors,” said Allan McLaughlin, senior vice president of research, litigation and business information solutions for LexisNexis. “In particular, online and software solutions in the area of legal research help professionals retrieve the most relevant information faster and within the context of their normal workflow.”

About the Workplace Productivity Survey
LexisNexis sponsored the 2008 National Workplace Productivity Survey. The national study included 650 white collar and knowledge workers in more than 23 different sectors, including 250 professionals from the legal industry and 400 non-legal white collar professionals. It was fielded by WorldOne research, an international market research agency, specializing in the collection and analysis of data for leading market research organizations, consulting firms and corporations. The findings are available online at (www.lexisnexis.com/literature/pdf/Workplace_Productivity_Survey_Results).

About LexisNexis
LexisNexis® (www.lexisnexis.com) is a leading global provider of business information solutions to a wide range of professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting and academic markets. LexisNexis originally pioneered online information with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. A member of Reed Elsevier [NYSE: ENL; NYSE: RUK] (www.reedelsevier.com), LexisNexis serves customers in more than 100 countries with 13,000 employees worldwide.

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