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Making Sense of Resource Abundance during COVID-19

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To avoid information overload, be smart about how you pass information on to your teams.


By Margaret Moakley
Knowledge management intern

With offices closed and many of us settling into our new normal, we open our inboxes each morning to find a barrage of information on COVID-19. Emails on what to expect, tip sheets with coping strategies, and think-pieces from the likes of Bill Gates himself.

The amount of information being produced and distributed in response to the pandemic is undeniably overwhelming. As part of IntraHealth International’s knowledge management team, the process of sifting through an excess of information is not at all unfamiliar.

However, COVID-19 presents a unique challenge—the world’s attention is on this singular topic, creating a surplus of information that exceeds the threshold of usefulness and begins to feel unnecessary and even burdensome.

Early in the pandemic, our knowledge management team recognized the overflow of information coming across our (at-home) desks and understood the impact it could have on our colleagues. We wanted to ease this burden by working behind the scenes to present information in a digestible format. To do so, we have created repositories of webinars, technical resources, scholarly articles, and more on our organization’s SharePoint. Additionally, we’re disseminating a weekly email with no more than seven resources each week. Our content is limited to global health (surprise, that’s a hot topic right now!) and IntraHealth’s key initiatives, such as frontline health workers and global health security.

All this to say, be smart about how you pass information on to your teams. Living through a pandemic is overwhelming enough without an inbox that is bursting at the seams. Here are some ways for you to help lighten that load:

  • Ensure your sources are reputableMisinformation is especially dangerous in a pandemic. This Smithsonian Magazine article discusses the issue and offers tips for checking your sources.
  • Consider time relevance: Information on COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. Check publishing dates and consider where your team may be in their processing of the situation before sharing your tenth resource on what COVID-19 is (but this one from Johns Hopkins is pretty good if you’re still looking for one of those).
  • Know your audience: There’s a lot out there right now. Be sure that what you share with your team is relevant to their daily life and workload. A good practice is to ask yourself “how will this help?”
  • Present information in bite-sized chunks: There’s nothing worse than receiving a “curated” list of resources that takes twenty minutes of scrolling to get through. Offer easily consumable pieces that highlight the most pertinent info. Take a page out of the Knowledge Success partnership’s book with their “That One Thing” newsletter, which shares a single, highly relevant resource per week. 

There is a lot of uncertainty and speculation in the world right now. Help your teams make sense of what’s going on by using knowledge management principles and being intentional about your sharing practices. And, most importantly, take care of yourself.

This piece originally appeared on LinkedIn.