In the late 1990s’ Microsoft performed a survey among employees of how much time they spent looking for information. On average, they found that an employee used 2.5 hours a day (a little over 30%) just looking for information.

Since the late 1990s’ the amount of available information has been multiplied a couple of times, and it could be that the time employees spend looking for information has increased. Alternatively, the tools we use have greatly improved, and the time could have decreased.

Either way, I would like to know how much time, on average, an information worker spends looking for information. Are there any surveys made and are they publicly available to reference?

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  • Hi! Is this question really appropriate for this group? – Andrea Raimondi Sep 12 '14 at 13:54
  • @Andrea - It may not be the right group but it's a great question. Would love to know the answer and will add to the bounty. (Have to figure out how first.) – Mayo Sep 12 '14 at 14:01
  • I think this is a very viable question. UX entails research and minimizing the amount of time you spend looking for it but getting the right answers highly impacts our work. – Majo0od Sep 12 '14 at 14:51

As per this article I found,the amount of time spent in searching for information has grown by 13% since 2002. To quote the article

A recent IHS Knowledge Collections Webinar provided an interesting statistic by Outsell: an engineer’s time spent searching for information has increased 13% since 2002.

A new survey by SearchYourCloud revealed “workers took up to 8 searches to find the right document and information.” Here are a few other statistics that help tell the tale of information overload and wasted time spent searching for correct information – either external or internal:

“According to a McKinsey report, employees spend 1.8 hours every day—9.3 hours per week, on average—searching and gathering information. Put another way, businesses hire 5 employees but only 4 show up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.” Source: Time Searching for Information.

“19.8 per cent of business time – the equivalent of one day per working week – is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job effectively,” according to Interact. Source: A Fifth of Business Time is Wasted Searching for Information, says Interact

IDC data shows that “the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information….60% [of company executives] felt that time constraints and lack of understanding of how to find information were preventing their employees from finding the information they needed.” Source: Information: The Lifeblood of the Enterprise.

However going by this Neilson report for September 2012 , people spent much more time on Facebook than Google (if you set google as the standard to research information)

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