Multitasking as ideal Solution for long to-do lists? On the contrary: for us Brain Multitasking is counterproductive and exhausting. A sensible one Alternatives is the so-called “flow”.

Multitasking myth - Photo Steelcase

Save time by multitasking?

A manager who keeps looking at his smartphone during a staff meeting. A consultant who... Meeting seine eMails reads. Or a part-time worker who thinks about her to-do list for the next day while she is shopping Office prepared. Classic everyday situations in today Working world.

The trend towards multitasking is spreading, especially in times of increasing digitization, in which home offices and mobile working are on the rise Significance wins, more and more. Also the increasing information and eMailflood in the office and the growing pressure to perform Employees often with parallel work on several projects and Tasks.

Employee motivation suffers from multitasking

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At first glance, multitasking seems to be an ideal solution for long to-do lists: several things are done at the same time, saving time and resources. But the medal also has a downside: The Motivation the employee suffers significantly. A study shows how Commitment am Workplace can be promoted. The central factor: More self-determined work!

So what about the engagement in Germany? Just 12 percent of employees in Germany are very committed. This is proven by a study on employee engagement that we conducted in cooperation with the research institute Ipsos. The results of the global study help us understand how engagement and satisfaction can be influenced in the office and which factors are decisive.

The ideal place to work for every situation

One of the five key findings of the study is that committed employees are highly self-motivated decide know where and how they work and can retreat to get their work done undisturbed. Multitasking and constant sprinkling act so fundamentally negative on employee motivation.

So what does this mean for the design of office spaces? Thanks to the results of the study, we know that the key to more self-determination and thus more commitment lies in giving employees a great deal selection to different environments in the office. We are talking about a so-called “workplace ecosystem”. In this ecosystem, employees are always able to choose a place of work that best supports them in their upcoming work.

Motivaton promotes self-determined work - Copyright: Steelcase

Concentration and privacy: key factors for engagement

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For concentrated individual work this can be your own desk, for a little rest and relaxation a comfortable retreat and if you work in the Team needs to be done, a meeting room where the group will not be disturbed. Just the need for Privacy should not be neglected when designing work spaces, because 98 percent of very committed employees state that they can do without Problems can concentrate.

It is also interesting that self-determination is not only based on Choice of the place of work, but to the design of the workplace as a whole. This includes, for example, the decision about your own office furniture, controlling the room temperature or whether you can customize the workplace with pictures or other personal items.

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From the study results, we see that in Germany in particular, there is untapped potential in terms of interior design. Less than half of the respondents have a place to retreat (44 percent), the majority of German employees still work with permanently installed technologies (e.g. landline telephones or desktop PCs) and 67 percent of the respondents state that they never work outside of their office .

selection and Control in a diverse workplace – these are the keys to Success and committed, satisfied employees. Now, scientists in the Brain, Cognition and SALE of University However, Michigan demonstrated that multitasking is actually a rapid back and forth of switching awareness is. It is precisely this constant irritation that causes motivation to suffer. And right here should Companys begin.

5 tips against the multitasking delusion

Every time the task is changed, attention has to be re-focused on the original topic. For our brains, this is counterproductive and exhausting. Therefore, here 5 tips on how to escape the multitasking delusion:

  1. Complete different tasks can be better combined: There is one exception: when the activities performed address completely different areas of the brain, such as running (manual activity) and speaking (verbal activity). In contrast, the use of the same areas leads to more or less serious errors, such as a typo in one eMail or inattention in the meeting.
  2. Distribute attention in the workplace correctly: At Steelcase, we have increasingly observed that in today's workplaces, too many tasks usually hit the employees at once and compete for attention. In the office in particular, these activities usually require the same “channels” of the brain, which, however, can only handle one task at a time.
  3. Focus on a task: Many employees are not aware today of how much they are restricted in their mental abilities when trying to operate multitasking throughout the day. It is therefore important to focus on one task at a time.
  4. Better “flow” than multitasking: The exact opposite of multitasking is what the psychologist does Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is called flow: the total absorption in a thing over a longer period of time and thus a state in which, according to many experts, we are most productive.
  5. Create concentrated working conditions: Such a flow does not happen at random, but is achieved only at a complete concentration, which should be self-sufficient and not disturbed. In a simple way a flow can not be reached in most office spaces - and it can not be maintained indefinitely. It's a pity, because a lot of people are longing for a flow.

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