What are the dangers of "multitasking" and what can we do to remedy them?

28/02/2024 - 16:19 h

>> Can the well-known “multitasking” affect our productivity? The recent article published by The Fast Company explains the effects of “multitasking” and how we can benefit from it.

The latest article published by The Fast Company, by Stephanie Vozza, highlights the effects of “multitasking” and its consequences. In it, the results of research from the Binghamton University School of Management are presented, showing that multitasking during a Zoom call, such as checking email, can be productive in certain situations.

Multitasking is understood as the apparent human ability to develop more than one task at the same time or in a shared time space. An example of this would be taking notes while we are in a Zoom meeting, or answering emails while we are waiting for a call.

In a world where multitasking is often seen as counterproductive, especially in virtual work environments like virtual meetings, this study reveals a surprising insight: Multicommunication could be a boost to productivity, according to Assistant Professor Jinglu Jiang, author of this pioneering research.

Traditional research on multitasking focuses primarily on individual task outcomes, claiming that constant switching between tasks can negatively affect productivity by up to 80%. Therefore, the research states that focusing on the results of the tasks is only part of the equation, and that more factors can be taken into account, such as multi-communication with different agents.

Thus, the study reveals that combining video conferencing and e-mail tasks can improve attention management and contribute to increased productivity. “Participants may be able to contribute more meaningfully to meetings by retrieving relevant information from an email while following the meeting.”

Despite this, the success of multicommunication depends on transparency and open communication between participants, as well as on company policies and work organization measures.

In conclusion, while what we understand as traditional multitasking can affect productivity and efficiency in the workplace, multicommunication with appropriate technology support can go from being a distraction to becoming an asset for the productivity and effective communication in the work environment.