Business team working remotely and exchanging files online, data transfer tools concept
Image: Adobe Stock

More than half of U.S. employees (56%) currently use personal file sharing systems such as OneDrive, Google Drive, WhatsApp or Dropbox for work-related file sharing to make things easier for them—regardless of whether they are allowed to, a new study finds.

Further, a third of those employees (32%) do it even though they know their company has a policy against it, despite the associated, elevated security risks, according to the report from OpenText. The global picture is even more surprising with almost two-thirds (63%) of employees indicating they use personal file sharing systems to share work files and 44% doing so as they believe there is no organizational policy against it.

The lack of effective information management tools in many businesses is now starting to have an impact on the steps employees feel they need to take themselves.

Overall, the study found that hybrid workers feel that they face a broad range of other challenges with over a quarter (26%) saying that they cannot collaborate or share files with colleagues as easily when they are working from home. The same number (26%) indicated they cannot access corporate file systems and content as easily when working remotely, while almost a quarter (21%) are struggling to carry between the office and their home the technology and tools they need daily just to do their job.

SEE: Feature comparison: Time tracking software and systems (TechRepublic Premium)

Information overload

Nearly four in five (76%) U.S. respondents reported feeling that information overload—driven by factors including constant information 24/7, pervasive social media or too many apps to check each day—is contributing to their daily stress. As people’s work lives continue to spill into their personal lives with hybrid working, 43% of U.S. hybrid workers said they feel they are not or are only somewhat equipped with the right digital tools to work at home.

More than one quarter (26%) of U.S. respondents said they have to use 11 or more accounts, resources, tools and apps on a daily basis.

In fact, due to the siloed nature of where information sits within organizations, more than two in five U.S. employees (41%) said that they normally spend, on average, one or more hours per day searching on company networks or shared systems for specific work files or pieces of information just to do their job, according to the study.

The prospect of trying to manage the volume and complexity of both structured and unstructured data that is pervasive and growing exponentially—can be daunting, said Sandy Ono, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at OpenText. “What we’ve come to realize is that information on its own is not the answer,” Ono said in a statement. “The answer comes when you break down silos and centralize information. When you continuously manage and bring all your information together, it is transformed. Patterns and trends emerge, insights are gleaned, and better decisions are made. That is the information advantage.”

SEE: Windows, Linux, and Mac commands everyone needs to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Poor information management is stressing out employees

Information scattered across multiple locations is another reason for the difficulties U.S. workers face, with two in five (40%) reporting it is hampering their ability to do their job. One in five (20%) reported feeling that their colleagues are not saving the latest version of documents to shared systems, while nearly one-third (31%) said not knowing where to find the most up-to-date information also contributes.

The study found that poor information management and these kinds of sustained challenges are having a negative effect on U.S. employees—nearly half (41%) reported feeling that it is having an impact on their mental well-being and stress levels.

In addition, two in five (35%) indicated it is having a detrimental effect on their performance at work, almost a third (30%) said it is negatively impacting their overall job satisfaction and nearly four in 1o (37%) said that it is having a direct impact on their work-life balance.

“As data from office workers, suppliers, and customers continues to boom across every organization, and as the number of systems and applications they use continues to rise, so too do the risks,” said Bernd Hennicke, vice president, product marketing at OpenText, in a statement. “Right now, there is an urgent need for businesses to automate information management and governance, so that content can be captured and classified so that retention policies can be applied automatically and … employees can easily access accurate, up-to-date information without having to trawl multiple applications.”

Subscribe to the Developer Insider Newsletter

From the hottest programming languages to commentary on the Linux OS, get the developer and open source news and tips you need to know. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays

Subscribe to the Developer Insider Newsletter

From the hottest programming languages to commentary on the Linux OS, get the developer and open source news and tips you need to know. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays