The Myth Of Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking is not as good as you might think

We’re not exactly sure when this all began, but multi-tasking in the workplace became a fad. Many employees have worn this as a badge of honor, and the feeling of busyness has been interpreted as productivity. This illusion continues and many still believe that sifting through hundreds of emails while answering calls, filling out forms, checking the news while eating a burrito is productive. Multi-tasking perpetuates task switching and ultimately there is a cost.

Switch Cost = Real Cost

Day to day, employees are kept busy shifting from email to phone to important tasks that require focus and concentration. Lump in personal phone calls & emails, side conversations, social media, etc.; seconds and minutes begin to add up. One study indicates the brief mental blocks created during task-switching can cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time [1].

Multitasking and Mandated Programs

Increasing minimum wage, Affordable Care Act, taxes etc., has a negative effect on quality and productivity. As businesses are forced to make decisions to reduce hours, downsize, or cannot hire, the work doesn’t just stop. Existing employees become overburdened, tasked with dissimilar duties and as they drudge through the piled up work, they are forced to multitask. The more they multitask, the more switch cost occurs. Quality and satisfaction of work lessens, additional pressure is placed on employees, missteps increase and customer satisfaction declines… it’s not a pretty sight. Opportunities and customers are lost during this process.

Staff-sourcing as a solution

Switching between phones, email and other necessary tasks are unlikely to be entirely eliminated; however, they can certainly be reduced. One client of ours discovered that there were application-processing procedures that could be delegated to Staff Boom employees instead of being managed by customer-facing employees. Customer service, sales and the accuracy/quality of application processing all improved. In the U.S., employees are prone to becoming distracted by social media, text messaging, socializing and more. At Staff Boom the employees are not accustomed to the same behaviors, which enables them to execute processes and tasks efficiently without all the switch cost.

Specialize in ways you couldn’t before

What would happen if you could have documents processed while you sleep to be ready for your employees to act on when they arrive in the morning? Perhaps a faster turn-around on auditing, reports and services might just be what your business needs to take things to the next level. When you have more flexibility over workflow, new opportunities become available that push the revenue needle forward. One of our clients implemented a 3 hour guarantee for delivery of services. Without Staff Boom, they would have had to hire two, or three employees at $15/hour who would essentially wait and remain available for processing orders to meet this guarantee. Now they have Staff Boom employees who manage this process. It makes for a more efficient workflow and it’s a fraction of the cost.

Every operation is unique which is why consulting is key. We’d love to begin discussing how you can increase revenue while saving 50-70% in employee expenses. Staff-sourcing“>Contact us today!

Reference:
[1] Meyer, D. E. & Kieras, D. E. (1997a). A computational theory of executive cognitive processes and multiple-task performance: Part 1. Basic mechanisms. Psychological Review, 104, 3-65.

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