• Mon, Jan 2 2012

2012 May Mark The End Of Multitasking

According to The New York Times, this may be the year that employees revolt against multitasking with five different technological devices at the same time. This year we should expect to see more companies addressing the issue of employees being linked in to the system all the time. Perhaps companies are starting to realize that multitasking is not always the most productive route. David E. Meyer, a cognitive scientist and director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan, said, “Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes,” said Meyer. “Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information.” No matter what type of multitasker you are this is something you may want to get a handle on as according to a study by the Institute for the Future reported, employees of Fortune 1,000 companies send and receive 178 messages a day and are interrupted an average of at least three times an hour.  Jonathan B. Spira, chief analyst at Basex, a business research firm, estimates the cost of interruptions to the American economy at nearly $650 billion a year.From the article:

More workers will probably revolt against the idea that they must be “on” all the time, recognizing that both their work and personal lives will improve if they create stricter boundaries. Sometimes this expectation is self-imposed; at other times, it’s part of the corporate culture. Look for more companies to address the issue directly. Last month, for example, Volkswagen agreed with labor representatives in Germany to limit work-related e-mails on BlackBerrys during off-hours.

Time limits on BlackBerrys? That seems hard to believe after new research showed that bout 70% of small business owners said they expected to work more this holiday season than they did in 2011. Among the other findings is the sad fact that only 14% of business owners said they planned on taking a “true” vacation where they could completely unplug from work. According to a Monster.com survey, only 27% of employees said that they’re able to completely shut off thoughts about work while on vacation and according to an Expedia.com survey of 1,530 people, 30% say they have trouble coping with work stress while they’re away.  According to Ron Ashkenas, author and managing partner of Schaffer Consulting, there isn’t. In an article for The Harvard Business Review he wrote:

“The reality for many of us these days is that our professional lives bleed into our personal lives. The boundaries are increasingly permeable and movable. We check our emails in the evenings and weekends. We delay or miss family events because we can’t leave the office. And when we do, we take our communications devices with us so that we can stay connected to work.”

But maybe this is all about to change though the NYTimes also pointed out that both the employed and unemployed must be assertive about keeping up with the latest computer languages and applications.

Photo: Realinemedia/Shutterstock.com

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