Your managers probably think it’s great that employees can juggle several things at the same time and still get their work done. But a new study says they should hold their applause.
Many employees, especially younger ones, see no problem with listening to an iPod, reading e-mail and browsing the Web while working. Managers may call it time-wasting, but the employees refer to it as multitasking.
Turns out that multitasking might be horrible for productivity.
That’s the word from a recent study out of Stanford University. Researchers had students fill out a questionnaire asking them how many tasks they usually perform simultaneously, then observed them taking three cognitive tests. They found that multitaskers:
- were much more easily distracted than others
- had more trouble remembering certain things, and
- were even worse than others at switching from one task to another.
That’s bad news for many departments these days, when over-taxed employees could try to use multitasking as a way to get all their work done.
But as this study shows, that strategy could backfire — and that’s before you even factor in all those non-work distractions, which can only multiply the problem.
Bottom line: Multitasking may not be the efficiency answer or desirable skill we all thought it was. Managers might want to recommend staffers get into the habit of focusing on one job at a time.
Are you a multitasker? Do you agree with the researchers’ conclusions? Let us know in the comments section below.