Using Technology to Increase Workplace Productivity May Actually Slow Workers Down
Checking email every 10 -20 minutes decreases productivity rather than enhancing it, according to a recent study by Apex Performance.
70% reported receiving 21 or more emails a day. More than half said they check their email more than 11 times a day, and one-third said they check it every time they receive notification of an incoming message.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – February 5, 2013 In today’s business environment, conventional wisdom has it that the release of new communications technology and online tools has made workers more efficient.
Yet new research in the area of neuroscience belies that assumption: while the human brain will try to respond to constant communications, it is not, in fact, wired to stay focused on two things at once.
According to a survey conducted by Charlotte-based Apex Performance, workers are almost constantly bombarded with distractions that interfere with their ability to concentrate on a single task. Yet they are not taught any techniques or given any tools to help them cope with the daily interruptions – and disruptions – from emails, phone calls and text messages.
In this survey titled, “Attention in the 21st Century,” conducted November, 2012, of more than 300 full time American workers, 70% reported receiving 21 or more emails a day. More than half said they check their email more than 11 times a day, and one-third said they check it every time they receive notification of an incoming message.
“That equates to opening your inbox once every 20 minutes,” explains Louis S. Csoka, PhD, Apex Performance President and Founder. “Prolonged focus on one thing at a time is required to efficiently accomplish a task. However, two-thirds of respondents are distracted at least every 20 minutes – and sometimes as little as 10 – by an email,” he adds.
A survey done a few years ago by Eric Horvitz, an internal research scientist at Microsoft explored how people dealt with everyday distractions such as email notifications. (Click Here) He found that it took the average Microsoft employee 15 minutes to return to their previous task after being distracted by an email, phone call, or instant message.
Thus by viewing the results of the Apex survey through the lens of Horvitz’s findings, it appears that the typical 21st century employee seems to only be focusing on any one task for approximately 15 minutes an hour, at most.
Yet 70% of the Apex survey respondents contend their productivity has stayed the same or increased since the adoption of smartphone and tablet technology.
“No one has taught them how to stay focused, so they don’t realize what they are sacrificing. Employees need to learn how to get back on task and stay productive despite the inevitable bell, pop-up window or phone call,” says Dr. Csoka.
“At Apex Performance, we can’t rid our clients’ lives of distractions, Dr. Csoka explains. “What we do teach, however, is a better way to direct attention and focus so that employees can become more productive and effective in their daily lives.”
ABOUT APEX PERFORMANCE:
Apex Performance provides performance improvement services to military units, pro and college athletes and senior executives who need to build mental agility and mental toughness. APEX Performance offers training to deliver results on the core of leadership - self awareness, confidence, mental agility, and composure.
A key part of Apex Training is to emphasize attention, especially how we pay attention. One of the most critical aspects of being able to perform well in a highly distractive world is to develop attention skills. Attention training is one of five key mental skills that encompass the “Apex Model.”
Utilizing a combination of personalized development programs, follow-up coaching, and advanced sensory technology, APEX provides the tools and learning required to achieve optimal focus and sustained peak performance.Apex Performance is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business. To learn more, go to www.apexperform.com