UK VAR Probrand surveyed 1,000 UK workers about their use of tech in the workplace and found most of them multitask regularly.
89% of the people surveyed said they check devices during meetings, which may be indicative of poor attention spans or being over-worked but is more likely to be a coping mechanism for pointless meetings and tediously self-important presentations. Having said that 81% of them dick about on devices while they’re doing other stuff too.
The most popular activities for this tech multitasking are: checking email, social media and instant messaging, none of which is much of a surprise. Around half of those surveyed reckon this kind of multitasking makes them more efficient, while the other half think it’s wrecking their attention span. The two things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive but focusing on just one task at a time seems to be an increasingly rare thing.
“The rise of multiple devices in the workplace in addition to the advent of remote cloud-based technologies mean that it’s never been easier for workers to be switched on 24/7 – but the research shows this isn’t always helpful,” said Probrand Marketing Director Matt Royle. “Some workers are being distracted by their devices during meetings, which can actually hamper productivity and focus.
“This is the workforce of the future, where a fully mobile workforce can collaborate and continue working when travelling or outside the office. This enterprise mobile movement is set to continue and those who fully embrace the multi-device environment will enable employees to work more flexibly and efficiently.”
This research coincides with the UK Health Secretary publicly wringing his hands about the mental health effects of social media use on children. “Unrestricted use by younger children risks being very damaging to their mental health. So I have asked the chief medical officer to bring forward formal guidance on its use by children.”
While the concerns are justified it seems unlikely that some arbitrary time limit advice from the man in Whitehall will do any good. Today’s parents may be under-informed about the effects of social media, so providing them with information to enable them to make their own parenting decisions would probably be more constructive.