Is your office full of those annoying twenty-somethings who sit there listening to their iPods, texting and pretending to work at the same time? If anyone has the temerity to challenge them about it, they will insist that it is not affecting their productivity as they can ‘multi-task’. (Yes, the little bastards have read all the management books and can spout all the bullshit too.)
Well it’s all a load of rubbish. A number of research projects have shown that the human brain can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Songs with lyrics, TV shows and instant messaging slow people down at work - even those under twenty-five.
Experiments at Vanderbilt University showed that trying to do even two things at once had a detrimental effect on work performance. A project at Illinois University studied Microsoft workers and found that they took fifteen minutes to return to complex mental tasks, such as writing reports or computer code, after interruptions from emails or text messages. Best of all, research at Oxford showed that older workers were more able to maintain their productivity through interruptions than those in their twenties.
So you see, all you cocksure multi-taskers, when your mum told you that you couldn’t do your homework with the TV on, she was right. Switch off the flat-screen on the wall, unplug the iPOD, put the mobile away and get a full day’s work done for a change.
Hat Tip: Recruiting Animal