Digital solutions designed to enhance workplace processes have inadvertently introduced a new problem: infobesity, or information overload.

As employees struggle to filter and process the deluge of data brought on by digital tools, Info Flow Savvy seeks to examine and mitigate the negative effects of today’s modern, info-saturated workplace. As the digital transformation takes hold, citizens will be the central actors, not passive bystanders. Luxembourg’s focus on digital skills is in fact a deeper concern with digital wellbeing.

As part of its promise to help citizens during our collective transition, Digital Luxembourg chose to support the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) and IMS Luxembourg, a network of businesses dedicated to corporate responsibility, as they explore digitalization’s negative impacts.

First, LISER launched a study measuring the impacts of the growing data usage of employees working for members of IMS Luxembourg,

Of the 1,300 participants, 66 percent stated that they check their emails every eight minutes and that this practice disturbs their work.

In November 2019, IMS Luxembourg organized an event attended by the PM to present the study’s findings. Caroline Sauvajol-Rialland, Professor at Science Po Paris and author of Infobesity: Understanding and Mastering the Informational Surge, also shared her insight into infobesity.

In the days following the event, breakfast sessions were held with the CEOs of the companies that participated in the study.

To act on their findings, IMS Luxembourg, in partnership with Neuroscience Doctors of the Cog'X agency and online training platform Didask, is offering its members the chance to enroll employees in trainings that consider how the brain operates when overwhelmed with information. Entitled How to Remain Efficient in an Hyper-connected Environment, it cultivates employee efficiency and wellbeing by teaching optimal methods for handling digital tools.

Member companies can carry out pilot projects within their organization to test systems and recommendations that limit the flow of information while improving employee wellbeing.

The initial online training covers specific themes: mental overload and its consequences, information excess and attention span, time organization and daily goals, organization of work environment, active recovery during work and, lastly, free time.

Once completing the training during the January 20 – February 7 window, participants attend a two-hour onsite program on February 12 or 13 in the presence of neuroscience doctors.

According to Sauvajol-Rialland, the infobesity situation is urgent as the digitalization of working environments multiplies stress and addictive behaviors, while threatening work-life balance.

““The volume of information available in digital format doubles every four years. We are already underwater, but if we do nothing, in ten years, it will be even worse,” she explained.

To continue the 2-year Info Flow Savvy initiative, 2020 will bring new pilot projects that test systems within organizations in an attempt to limit the negative effects of email overload and ultimately inform a self-assessment tool. The entire project will be presented and discussed in April 2020 at the Luxembourg Sustainability Forum.

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