How Multitasking Affects an Employee’s Productivity


Go through a few resumes submitted to any company and you would see a lot of them claiming that the applicant is able to multitask effectively. Somehow, multitasking has become a regular part of every applicant’s profile, no matter what industry they are hoping to join. There seems to be a sense of achievement as people who multitask complete a number of tasks all at the same time, or one after the other. However, how sure are you that multitasking is actually considered as one of the best skills of an employee?

What Multitasking InvolvesHow Multitasking Affects an Employee’s Productivity

First, let’s define what multitasking actually means. There are several ways for you to say that you multitask. Sometimes, it means doing two or more tasks at the same time, like studying while listening to music, or talking to somebody while you send somebody else a text message. Multitasking could also involve jumping from one task to another, or performing them all one after the other rapidly.

What Research and Statistics Say

A lot of research has been done on multitasking in the effort to figure out if it is indeed a helpful skill in an employee. It is quite interesting how research dictates that contrary to what a lot of people believe, multitasking does not help an employee’s productivity at all. In fact, it reduces a person’s productivity by around 40% based on the results of the research.

Why Switching Won’t Work

Basically, the brain follows a certain process in everything that you do. First, it goes through a step known as “goal shifting” where the brain decides on what to do and rationalizes how to do it. Next, it goes on to “role activation” where it applies what needs to be done to complete the task. Looking at these steps alone, it is safe to assume that each time to switch from one task to another, no matter how simple the tasks may be, a shift also happens from one step to another. These shifts may only take split seconds sometimes but could have great impact if the tasks you are performing are critical, such as driving and then switching from one radio station to another. Multitasking also makes you lose focus on each task at hand as compared to doing one thing at a time where your brain would be 100% focused on a single task alone. The switch between one task to another is also a very critical period no matter how quick it may seem. It allows distractions to come in, adding up to the things already on your mind. It causes mental blocks to form which could make it harder for you to regain your focus and perform the tasks full blast.


So should multitasking be considered as one of the best skills of an employee? This would all be up to you. For people who have gotten used to multitasking, there is a big possibility that they do not see those small delays that are caused as they switch from one task to another, as they focus more on the thought that they finish a lot in a single moment. Should you decide to multitask, make sure that you still show the best skills of an employeeby making sure that you focus on delivering quality results each time.

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