Colleagues and phone biggest disruptors in the workplace

1 July 2019


A survey conducted by online pension administrator BeFrank reveals that nearly 4 in 10 people in the Netherlands experience information overload in the workplace – around 16% virtually every day. The biggest culprits? Phones and co-workers.

Ten new WhatsApp messages, a colleague asking a question, a phone that won’t stop ringing, and then there are those unread email messages in your inbox waiting for a reply… Many Dutch workers are no stranger to information saturation, with a staggering 46% of those surveyed describing the quantity of information as excessive. “I find all that data and information overwhelming and have trouble processing it,” one-third of all respondents stated.

A lot of information is simply not relevant
“A growing number of people therefore struggle to make decisions. In fact, that’s true for more than 30% of all workers, which we think is very high,” says Jan Hein Rhebergen, BeFrank’s Commercial Director. “What also struck us about the survey results is that more than 60% of workers regularly receive information that is regarded as non-relevant.
At BeFrank, we like to keep communications with our customers clear and simple. One of the ways in which we do this is by not making pensions needlessly complicated, so that people have a better understanding of their retirement options.”

Productivity undermined
The information overload many people experience creates everyday problems, ranging from minor inconveniences to serious issues.
• 30% of workers sometimes head into a meeting unprepared because they have trouble processing the information correctly.
• 35% struggle to focus on the job at hand after a phone call or email.
• 42% are less productive due to all the information they have to process.

Dutch workers feel that businesses and other organisations could make more of an effort to put an end to information overload. “More than 34% of all workers would like their employer to take measures against information saturation. And there’s no good reason why they shouldn’t, because the fact that such large numbers of people report that it affects their productivity presents an opportunity for employers to make some changes,” Rhebergen says.

There’s that phone again…
We’re surrounded by more distractions than ever before: our phones, social media, questions from colleagues… More than 60% of working people are disrupted by a buzzing phone demanding their attention between one and ten times a day (more than 10 times for nearly 10 percent). People’s inboxes are another source of disruption, with more than 57% getting distracted by incoming messages several times a day.

Colleagues needing to discuss something is another concentration killer, causing distraction to around 65% of workers at least a few times a day. Social media and WhatsApp also play a big role in keeping people from doing their jobs: nearly half of all workers find themselves distracted by these technologies at least several times a day, and over 12 percent even more than 10 times a day.

Clear and online
The never-ending flood of information is making it harder for people to recognise what is and isn’t important and to get their priorities right. “Pension is a subjects that tend to make people feel stressed. They often can’t keep track of what’s going on, particularly when they receive long and complicated letters on these topics. That’s why we make information about pensions as clear and transparent as possible: simple, straightforward and written in clear and comprehensible language,” Rhebergen says. “We also offer all our services online, which makes it easy for customers to submit any changes their pensions through our app. It also gives them access to their pension information whenever it’s convenient for them.”

About the survey
Commissioned by BeFrank, Panelwizard conducted this survey in June 2019 among more than 1,000 Dutch workers aged 18 and over