Before the Internet was an LED twinkle in your office, futurist Alvin Toffler predicted that people would struggle with information overload. It turns out he was as right about that as he was about most other things he predicted.
Are you and your employees suffering from information overload?
Here are some ideas for ways in which small business owners and their employees can unplug from information overload.
It isn’t office communication that causes information overload. It’s the incessant email checking that employees do during the day.
Maybe your employees feel that they’re missing something, or won’t be able to get the jump on projects.
For whatever reason, checking emails more than a couple times a day is a waste of time. It also interrupts the flow of thought.
Every time a person checks their email, it takes time to get back in the swing of whatever it was they were working on.
You can help minimize emails within your organization by using other means of communication. Phone calls, in-person communication and paper memos are all perfectly good substitutes for emails. In fact, you could implement email-free days, where all email communication is prohibited for that one day.
Friday would be a good day, since everyone wants to wrap up the week’s work and start their weekend.
Prohibit Cell Phone Texting
As the following article looks at, another idea for how to unplug from information overload is to prohibit cell phone texting in the office.
Most employees will balk at having to give up their cell phones at work. Some may have school children that they need to be in touch with, or babysitters, so you can’t really prohibit employees from using their cell phones altogether.
One recent study uncovered the fact that, on average, people check their cell phones around 100 times a day. It won’t be a habit that’s easy to break without putting a rule in place.
You can certainly prohibit texting at work. Texting and staring at a cell phone are unnecessary at work unless you’re in the business of selling cell phones.
Otherwise, ask employees to save the texting for their lunch breaks.
Block out Social Media
Between checking Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and updating Twitter and Pinterest boards, employees can be inundated with temptations during the workday.
As soon as their minds are on social media, their minds aren’t on the business at hand.
Your IT person can block out access to social media so people can’t check it during work days.
If you have a social media manager on staff, they can get a special access code from your IT person so they can do their job.
Information overload isn’t something unique that’s happening only in your organization.
It’s a challenge that’s affecting almost everyone in this era of tablets, cell phones, watches, emails, texts and calls.
At some point, it’s imperative that you and your employees get back to being human beings who act instead of react to the digital world we live in.
About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.