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Office workers ‘retain more info using visual mapping’

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Both individuals and groups of office workers are wasting valuable mental resources, performing less efficiently and retaining less information by using traditional office software, it has been claimed.

A study conducted by Mindlab International at The Sussex Innovation Centre on behalf of Mindjet found that visual mapping techniques may be more effective.

The experiment used neurometrics, the science of measuring patterns of brain activity through electroencephalography, and skin conductance, to compare the efficacy of visual mapping software with traditional office software.

It discovered that storing, sharing and managing information through visual maps – rather than in separate spreadsheets, text documents, emails and server files – leads to more accurate and faster information processing.

This also uses fewer mental resources, helping to keep employees in the best possible condition and fit for action.

Chris Harman, regional vice-president for Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Mindjet, commented that digital technology provides us with more ways to access and receive information than ever before.

“It’s revolutionised the way we can access data and knowledge, however it also means we’re bombarded with information from more sources than we know what to do with,” he stated.

Mr Harman suggested that current working practices just can’t keep up.

Research conducted by Mindjet and One Poll last year showed that British office workers struggle to manage this information, with two in three feeling as if they are drowning in data at work.

One in three emails is going unread and the average person wastes two weeks a year searching for misplaced information.

“As most office software was developed in the 1990s, before the advent of big data and social media, this is hardly surprising,” Mr Harman added.

“We’ve entered an exciting new phase in the digital revolution but most of the office tools are stuck in the last century and need to adapt to deal with this surge and acceleration in data.”

He said new technologies, such as collaborative visualisation software, are being designed to solve these problems and the results of this experiment prove their value to businesses today.