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BizReport : Research : January 23, 2014

Report: Multi-tasking is bad for business

Multi-tasking means you can get more done in less time, right? Actually, not according to new research. According to some experts multi-tasking actually slows down task progress and can lead to more errors because of the distractions of working on several projects at once.

by Kristina Knight

A new infographic from FuzeBox underlines the dangers of multi-tasking for businesses. While many people excel at multi-tasking, the graphic also shows the cost of distracted workers for businesses - an estimated $450 billion per year, globally. According to the infographic:

• People check phones an average of 150 times per day
• Most are 'on task' for just over a minute before being interrupted
• Post-interruption, it takes about 25 minutes to resume a task

Multi-tasking was also found to lead to a 40% drop in worker productivity and to make up to 50% as long to finish a task as those who do not multi-task. Where are workers multi-tasking most? More than 90% say they multi-task during meetings, 57% during phone calls and 23% during web conference calls.

"Considering the amount of time we spend in meetings - 52 percent of survey respondents spend 1-3 hours in meetings weekly and 34 percent spend between 4 and 10 hours in meetings every week - we are wasting a lot of time by simply not focusing on the tasks and conversations at hand. But, our distraction is not entirely voluntary or even conscious. Our attention is under siege and we are merely reacting, like Pavlov's dogs, to the call of a new message or other tasks. In fact, according to a major mobile carrier, the average person checks their smartphone approximately 150 times per day," writes the company.

What are businesses to do? Encourage workers to 'unplug' from connected devices and scheduling time better so that there isn't a rush to finish multiple projects at one time.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: business trends, FuzeBox, multi-task worker, multi-tasking

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