Older readers may still remember what work used to be like before the internet. When ‘research’ meant collating reams of data from paper surveys without the benefit of automation. Or scouring a specialist library to find a particularly elusive book – and then writing out your notes by hand. (No typewriters allowed. Sorry, yes, that’s typewriters…!)
Now, of course, pretty much all of human knowledge is sitting at our fingertips. Which is probably why only 4% of workers in a recent survey said that they were looking for more data!
And that’s the downside. We live in a world where data can be gathered more and more easily. Perhaps too easily. So it’s easy to see how we can quickly become overwhelmed.
Dozens, if not hundreds, of emails. Endless columns of statistics. Gargantuan reports, full of densely-packed information. Hardly surprising that 72% of survey respondents said if they had more time to just think, their productivity would improve. After all, how can we possibly process all that in the course of a normal working day?
So how can we change the game?
The conventional response is to suggest that people work on their time management. That could mean unsubscribing from all the emails they never read. Blocking out their time (so they don’t spend as much of it reading the emails that are left). Aiming for shorter meetings – 30 rather than 60 minutes.
Which might allow them to spend more than 39% of their day on productive work (which is what they report they are doing at the moment).
But while such measures may lead to improvement, they won’t solve the central problem of ‘too much data’. And it’s interesting to see that 77% of UK workers now believe that the rise of automation will help us think of work in new and innovative ways. Sadly, 40% will add that they know of people who have already lost their jobs through innovation.
Process, automation, innovation and learning
It’s increasingly clear that when confronted with a huge mass of digital data the best way to process it is – well, digitally. And that’s why lifelong learning has become so important. The latest version of Excel, for example, is offering a host of new features to give you even more control over your data management, including:
- new functions (like IFS, replacing all those hideous nested IF functions)
- map and funnel charts
- scalable vector graphics
- better accessibility and sharing
- enhanced pivot tables and
- improved Power Queries.
And those are just the highlights. So isn’t it time that you – and your team – got to grips with the full power of Excel? That’s what we do, and we can help – just give us a call on 0345 1188150 or send us an email.