Office chaos: Workers waste an entire day each week searching through disorganized documents

NEW YORK — It takes the average American worker a year and seven months to feel like they’re “thriving” in a new job. In addition to pinpointing how long it takes for respondents to thrive — or expect to thrive — the survey of 2,000 hybrid and remote office workers also looked at what this phrase means.

When asked about the top signs that someone’s thriving in their role, workers say it involves being able to help others. Specifically, being able to direct co-workers toward different resources (43%).

Knowing where to look to find information (42%) and having strong relationships with colleagues (40%) followed closely behind.

Commissioned by Glean and conducted by OnePoll, the survey dug further into the importance of having access to information, looking at the connection between clarity at work and being more productive and happier.

Workers waste a lot of time searching for information

The average respondent uses 11 different applications and platforms in their day-to-day work — between email, messaging platforms, and project management tools. With all those different platforms, perhaps it’s not surprising that the average respondent needs to search for documents or other information 35 times per week, or about seven times each day.

This time adds up: on average, respondents will spend 13 minutes searching on their own before asking for help — adding up to almost a full workday of potentially wasted time per week.

According to the results, the ability to access the information they’re looking for, without asking for help, would empower 76 percent of respondents and make them more productive in their role.

It isn’t always easy to find what they need, however, as 42 percent of those surveyed said the information at their job is scattered throughout different platforms.

“To really thrive at work, we need an easy way to find answers to our questions, to access information wherever it’s stored and to stay connected not just to company knowledge, but also to one another,” says Arvind Jain, CEO and co-founder of Glean, in a statement. “It’s empowering to have a sense of clarity and alignment on shared goals — we’re happier and more fulfilled when we’re able to contribute effectively.”

work information

4 in 5 are overwhelmed by starting a new job

The survey also asked specifically about the onboarding process, and how each respondent’s experience was when joining their current organization. Of those who remember going through the onboarding process, 81 percent admitted feeling overwhelmed with information. Another 69 percent add they didn’t know how to find necessary information when starting their current job.

It’s not only a lack of information that new hires face, but also a lack of connection: 79 percent believe it’s easy to feel anxious or isolated when starting a new job if they don’t have the full context of how and why a company works the way it does.

“So much of workplace attrition comes from people who’ve been on board for less than a year, who never became fully engaged with the business,” Jain says. “Without an easy way to onboard and connect with the company — its knowledge and people — new employees often feel completely lost.”

“Especially in this era of hybrid and remote work, it’s vital to empower all employees, from day one, with simple access to everything, and everyone, they need to do their best work.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 hybrid and/or remote office workers was commissioned by Glean between Oct. 13 and Oct. 18, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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