Stanford University has conducted studies over the years on the subject of multitasking. Being a proud multitasker, market researcher, trainer and coach, I was intrigued by the data that was being collected. What I found was cause for concern, not only for myself but for the way I was training my staff to operate. You might be concerned, too.
The studies found that multitasking does not work and is counter-productive in terms of the following:
Seems when we are not focusing on one task at a time, we make more mistakes (resulting in rework), remember fewer details of the project, and are by far less efficient than if we concentrated on one thing at a time. Some multitasking activity can cause costly mistakes, eating away at a company’s profitability.
As you are orienting new employees to the culture and procedures of conducting themselves as professionals who are a part of your team, give them the time and space they might need to focus. One of my credit union mystery shopping and coaching clients has a conference room available to employees who need quiet space to think, make undistracted phone calls, or calm themselves after an overwhelming period at their desks.
Another thing you can do as an employer is to offer yoga or Tai Chi classes on site. Both forms of exercise and meditation have been known to improve a person’s concentration and focus. If offering classes on-site is not an option, consider making it a part of your benefits package. It could save you lots of money in costly mistakes.
Most importantly, let your staff know that it’s okay to slow down and handle tasks one at a time. A few minutes of “Do Not Disturb” time can go a long way to improving your profitability.
What kinds of modules are in your new employee training program to let employees know that focusing on one thing or customer at a time is encouraged?
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