Some Interesting Statistics


  • 80% of records in the average organisation are paper based.
  • 80% of all papers that are filed are never looked at again.
  • 80% of clutter is the result of disorganisation and not a lack of space.
  • The average time to retrieve and re-file a paper document is 10 minutes.
  • An average of 3% of documents are lost or misfiled, and have to be recovered at an alarming cost of $120 per document.
  • The average office worker makes about 61 trips per week to the fax machine, copier and printer.
  • It costs about $25,000 to fill a four drawer filing cabinet and over $2,100 per year to maintain it.
  • The average office has 19 copies of each document.
  • Studies have shown that some executives will pick up a single piece of paper from their desk thirty or forty times before acting on it.
  • 92% of information is in manila folders
  • 80% of technical information is on paper and microfilm
  • Paper files are doubling every 3.5 years
  • Each day one billion photocopies are made
  • The average worker has a 34 hour paper backlog
  • Half an office workers time is spent handling paper or data entry
Sources: Gartner Group, Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young, AIMM
  • The average employee today has about 37 hours of unfinished work on his or her desk at any one time.
  • Businesses create more than 30 billion documents per year.
  • Almost everyone feels his or her office could be better organised, paperwork better managed, and processes more efficient and streamlined. But few are cognizant of the specific costs of disorganization. Consider that The Wall Street Journal reports the average US executive loses 6 weeks per year retrieving misplaced information from messy desks and files. The cost in salary and lost productivity is enormous.
  • Time spent mishandling paperwork detracts from the company's ability to service customers, increase sales, and improve the bottom line.
Source: Small Business Administration Report August, 2002


  • 53% of people check their emails sporadically throughout the day
  • 40% of people check their email In the middle of the night
  • 77% of people check their email while on holiday.
  • 91% of Internet users between the ages of 18 and 64 send or read e-mail and an even higher number of users ages 65 or older do the same. The only other activity to even approach e-mail's popularity is using a search engine to find information.
  • In a February 2007 survey conducted by Datran Media, (regarding most important marketing tactic by businesses), found that 83.2% of respondents preferred email marketing as their number one marketing preference.
  • Email volume in the United States is projected to nearly double from 1.5 trillion in 2003, to 2.7 trillion in 2007, as reported by eMarketer.
Source: Small Business Administration Report, September 2006
  • 50 billion emails are dispatched every day wordwide (up from 12 billion in 2001)
  • 88% of emails are junk, including about 1% that are virus-infected
  • The average number of email messages received per person in the UK each day is 32, supposedly growing by 84% each year 440 million 'electronic mailboxes' are in use across the globe, including 170 million corporate addresses (with 32% growth per year)
Source: the London Times, July 2006
  • 61% of adults are online and 30% of all Australians are online at home, notes that email is the most used internet service.
  • 52% of respondents in the Gallup study said email is their most common online activity.
  • 51% of those who use email at work check it at least once an hour. Only 5% check it less often than once a day. Most check their email at home either a couple times a day (30%) or about once a day (41%); 22% check it less often.
  • The Return Path survey suggested that 83% of respondents accessed email for business purposes at least once a day; 82% accessed email for personal purposes at least once a day and 53% for school purposes.
  • 61% of women said that email messaging was their most frequent online activity, compared to 44% of men.
  • A typical office worker receives 12 messages at work each day; 28% got 20 or more each day.
  • 39% reported that coworkers and business associates were their most frequent email respondents, followed by family members (33%) - including children (9%), siblings (9%), significant others (6%) and parents (5%). 28% indicated that they email friends most often.
Source: ABA Australian Families & Internet Use, 2001


  • The Top time-wasting activities by US workers are:
    44.7% Surfing Internet for personal use
    23.4% Socialising with coworkers
    6.8% Conducting personal business
Source: and America Online
  • It often takes 50% or more of the total effort to squeeze out the last 10% or so of quality or whatever it is perfectionists want out of a situation.
  • An employee earning $50,000 a year that wastes an hour each day will cost your company $6,250.
  • The damage caused to your time management by any given interruption is always twice as long as the actual duration of the interruption itself.”
Source: Ted Johns, Perfect Time Management
  • The average person gets 1 interruption every 8 minutes, or approximately 7 an hour, or 50-60 per day. The average interruption takes 5 minutes, totalling about 4 hours or 50% of the average workday. 80% of those interruptions are typically rated as "little value" or "no value" creating approximately 3 hours of wasted time per day.
  • 20% of the average workday is spent on "crucial" and "important" things, while 80% of the average workday is spent on things that have "little value" or "no value.
  • 50% of all projects are behind schedule.
  • 1 hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing.
  • In the last 20 years, working time has increased by 15% and leisure time has decreased by 33%.
  • White collar workers waste an average of up to 40% of their workday. Not because they aren't smart, but because they were never taught organising skills to cope with the increasing workloads and demands.
  • A person who works with a "messy" or cluttered desk spends, on average, 1 1/2 hours per day looking for things or being distracted by things or approximately 7 1/2 per workweek. "Out of sight; out of mind." When it's in sight, it's in mind.
Source: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, Time Management Expert


  • 11% of unscheduled absences are due workplace stress.
  • 1 in 3 adults suffers from moderate to extreme stress at work.
  • Stress-related workers compensation claims have increased by 400% in the last 10 years.
  • The average NSW claimant, takes over 20 weeks off work, a year.
  • In NSW the cost of stress claims rose from $5.6 million in 1990 to $60 million per year by January 1998.
  • Work-related stress accounts for the longest stretches of absenteeism. A 2004 Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) survey of over 5000 workers indicated that 25% of workers were taking time off each year for stress-related reasons.
  • Mental Stress has the highest median cost at an average of $9,700 per case compared to $4,100 for all other WorkCover claims.
  • The costs of Job stress in developed countries like Australia, US, UK, and Germany have been estimated at $200 to $300 billion annually in absenteeism; diminished productivity; employee turnover; accidents; and medical, legal and insurance fees.
  • Stress is blamed for 80% of all disease and illness, and 60% to 90% of all medical office visits in the US.
Source: Human resources magazine, NSW WorkCover, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2006
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