Could your workplace benefit from Tabless Thursday?
Employee productivity can be hindered rather than enhanced by multitasking. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance found that switching repeatedly between tasks can create brief mental blocks. These small hesitations caused when switching between tasks can reduce a person’s productivity by up to 40 per cent.
David Meyer, one of the researchers in the above study, explained in a CNN article that productivity loss due to these mental blocks is similar to getting a writer’s block between each task and your mind needs to reengage with the job at hand each time you each time you shift your focus.
In a recent video article on the Atlantic, James Hamblin MD emphasised the value of doing one thing at a time. Mr Hamblin explains that in today’s world, where so much of what we do is online, we are not fully focussed on the task in front of us. Rather, your screen becomes tab central.
The example Mr Hamblin gives is starting to write an assignment on Google Docs, you then decide to do more research on the topic and open another tab. The fact you find surprises you, and you conduct further research to check it is correct. This can descend into a time wasting exercise.
To overcome this multi tab time wasting, Mr Hamblin came up with a solution – Tabless Thursdays. This approach requires that whatever you are doing on the internet you are only allowed one tab open at a time. If the tab you have opened is not interesting or relevant to the task, you need to close it down.
“This way you have to really make the value judgement and say do I want to finish what I’m doing or do I want to stop and do something else,” Mr Hamblin explained.
Tabless Thursday may provide your organisation an interesting way to reduce time wasted from multitasking and increase productivity. HRIS software can also implement workflow controls in the workplace to keep people on task.