Is Multi-tasking Killing Your Productivity?

At Viatech Global we take a science-based approach to employee productivity which is why we have been looking at how multi-tasking is killing productivity.  From the invention of the T.V. dinner to Tupperware to social media, Americans are constantly looking for better, faster ways to meet their goals.  Books have been written about increasing productivity and the secret to success and we’ve all read our fair share of business books.

The ironic part is there is no secret. Scientific studies have proven focus is the key to getting more done.

Which Decreases Your IQ More?  Sending an email while on the phone or smoking pot?

Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London conducted a study of 1,100 workers and determined that multitasking caused a greater decrease in IQ than smoking pot or losing a night of sleep.

Multi-tasking and Brain Function

Multi-tasking makes your brain move fast from task to task without processing the information to the extent it could if you did one task at a time.

Researchers call this “spotlighting”.  By tracking brain function of single-taskers versus multi-taskers, it has been consistently found that multi-taskers are not only the worse at filtering information, they are worse at switching between tasks than single-taskers.

Impact on the Workplace

While multi-tasking employees may seem to get more completed, it is actually the single-tasking employees who are producing more for the company.  Single-tasking means using the brain optimally, without distraction, which means a better product at the end of the project or task.

How can we help employees learn the value of single tasking?

  • Teaching managers about the value of single-tasking, and gaining their support, are keys to being a single-focus production team. That’s not to say everyone focuses on one project at a time.  Rather it means removing the culture of multi-tasking to a culture of project-focused employees.
  • Create an Environment where single-tasking is encouraged. Rather than one team working on multiple projects, create teams that focus on one project.  Each single focus team can provide ideas and feedback to other teams to keep ideas and energy fresh on the teams.
  • Teach employees the value of single tasking and create areas of the office where they can focus solely on phone calls, for example. This eliminates the distraction of checking email while on the phone as well as the distraction of other employees while focused on a call.
  • Change work location at least once a day. This is important especially with a work-from-home team.  Leaving the house to work at a coffee shop or getting up from workspace to take a walk are two ways to encourage focus and single-tasking.

Identifying the key players in this new culture of single-tasking can be challenging and we can help.

At Viatech Global,  http://www.viatechglobal.com/  we provide value science tools to help employers identify, engage, and retain employees who support the workplace culture of increasing productivity and employee engagement.

Contact Michael@viatechglobal.com to see how we can assist your organization today!

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