Business documents: A tidy workspace, a tidy mind

According to new research, carried out by Opinion Matters for Brother UK, the average British office worker loses 1.5 working days every year looking for missing business documents.

This echoes what Collate have identified as being one of the most common challenges in business today – document challenges which can be reduced and even eliminated by the implementation of an enterprise content management (ECM) solution.


  • Millions of Brits have almost a stone of clutter on their desks
  • The average British office worker loses 1.5 working days every year looking for missing documents
  • Almost a half of people don’t think keeping a tidy desk is necessary
  • Over a fifth of office workers lose important documents at least once a week

It may be as simple as moving a dirty cup at the end of the day, or recycling old paperwork, but failure to keep on top of messy desks is leading businesses across Britain to lose out on an estimated 35.7 million working days every year as office workers waste hours searching for lost documents.

According to the research findings, while a stubborn 46% of office workers don’t believe it’s necessary to keep a tidy desk, over a fifth polled confessed to losing important documents at least once a week as a result of a cluttered desk, and nearly 20% have even mistakenly thrown them away.

The research also shows that office workers in retail and professional services are most at risk, with many of them being weighed down by a huge pile of clutter on their desks.

A third of office workers blame a lack of time for their failure to keep on top of clutter. It seems that British workers feel in need of support, with a PA topping the most wanted list to help improve day-to-day business, and nearly one in five suggesting that having someone to organise their physical documents would help.

But how efficient would this be in reducing this lost time and can technology provide a more tangible and effective solution?

As a document solutions provider, these findings resonate with Collate. Handling too much paper, access to the appropriate or correct information, duplicated work, and wasted time searching for information have all been identified as common business challenges which can be overcome by the implementation of an ECM solution.

Business Documents

This research highlights a stark fact – with improved organisation of business documentation in the workplace, businesses could operate more efficiently both by refining business processes management and achieving financial gains.

During this downturn, there are fewer people in the workplace, with heavier workloads and workers feeling more job insecure. To deal with the overload, they need to prioritise their workload and better manage their inbox and desk to perform more effectively. How are businesses using technology to achieve this?

With the content challenges and costs to the business, increasing numbers of organisations are turning to ECM software to help them proactively manage their business content. ECM solutions allow documents to be processed, managed and stored electronically, which significantly reduces the amount of paper the average worker consumes each day.

Going ‘paperless,’ is unattainable for most businesses and paper will always be a part of business process; however, by seamlessly collecting, organising, and indexing a multitude of documents and content into a single 360-degree view, you can better manage the sheer quantity of information your business encounters.

ECM can bring clarity your data, electronic and otherwise, and allow for easy tracking of critical documents – It allows complete document life-cycle management – storing from input through to destruction. This latest research revealed that a third of office workers blame a lack of time for their failure to keep on top of clutter. With ECM, time searching for documents is reduced, with documents stored centralised, fully searchable.

Most companies need to update documents frequently, but it becomes costly to print and store so many documents and there is a risk of printed documents becoming outdated quickly, employees acting on outdated information or becoming lost, as this latest research by Opinion Matters highlights. With ECM, the correct and latest version of a document is easily attainable and employees can easily review the latest document versions 24/7, from any location using a web browser. This enables employees to focus on higher value tasks, to help your company achieve its business goals, better serve your customers and ensure customer loyalty, trust and satisfaction.

This research shows the sheer scale of the problem that comes with business documents today. Why not contact us for more information on how you can take control of your business content and start you on the road to a more efficient business.

You can also request to receive a no obligation demo of our ECM software – to see the technology in action and realise the benfits it could bring to your business.