Multitasking ‘does not boost productivity’ - Mitrefinch

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Multitasking ‘does not boost productivity’

Published: January 14, 2016

Many employers believe that the ability to multi-task leads to higher productivity and increased success rates.

However, new research suggests otherwise. Findings published by Steelcase found that those who try to cram in too much are likely to make 50 per cent more mistakes and bad decisions than those who do not.

The misconceptions about the benefits of multitasking is mainly due to incorrect understanding about the way the brain works.

Rather than improving performance, juggling tasks was found to lead to higher stress rates and employees being unable to cope.

Speaking about the findings, Beatriz Arantes, psychologist and senior researcher at Steelcase said: “Stress at work is one of the largest occupational hazards of the 21st century. However, businesses can increase employee wellbeing and productivity if they understood how the brain works, helping workers to prioritise the workload, and give each task the attention it needs, rather than engaging in multitasking.

“Everybody recognises that feeling of paralysis when the in tray is overflowing and e-mails are coming in thick and fast. However, trying to deal with several problems at the same time is not an effective working strategy, leading to slower completion, increased error and a dissatisfying feeling of being behind.”

Other misconceptions that many people have is thinking that putting in extra hours means you are likely to get more done. Others wrongly believe that it is easier to concentrate when sitting still, according to the report.

Mitrefinch offers time allocation and job costing software, which allows you to plan daily and weekly tasks across multiple cost centres, compare planned tasks and budgets with those already achieved, and track projects by hours, quantity, or cost.

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