Most workers (82%) feel they fail to maintain a balance between the amount of information they have to review and analysis and other aspects of their jobs.

The survey, carried out Henley Management College, also found a quarter of the 600 business users in the UK questioned estimate that 1 in 5 documents (22%) held on corporate networks are out of date. While they search for, on average, over 60 documents per week or in excess of 10 documents per day.

The Microsoft-sponsored research suggests that there are improvements to be made in the way employees use information as individuals and in groups, despite the support of email, the internet and other business applications.

The research says the majority of respondents cite the sources of inefficiency in finding and sharing information as ‘people-driven’ (52%). A further 24% see inefficiencies as ‘process-driven’, with only 16% blaming ‘technology-driven’ issues.

But while 63% of respondents feel that departmental performance has improved over the past 12 months, nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents have document policies in place advocating ‘search and share’ best practice. But only 42% of those respondents with document policies tackle the issue of version control.

An average workgroup of 25 people shares 1,500 documents and emails internal and externally each week and will search for approximately 550 documents per week on corporate networks. But, up to a quarter of UK business users are searching for three times this amount because their responsibilities are largely defined by the search, use and distribution of documents and information.

“It is, perhaps, a reflection on our relationship with technology at this point of the information age that the ability to ‘get lots done’ contradicts the satisfaction with the quality of the output,” said the report.

It recommends identifying the drain that searching for information has on the business. By establishing the level of effort and frustration experienced within these processes amongst business users within your organisation, information policy can be refined and improved within an existing framework, or new approaches that include portal and intranet technologies can be explored.