Multitasking by employees: Good idea, or not?

Multitasking by employees: Good idea, or not?

Multitasking? That one employee who can do several things at once. A multitasking employee can save a lot of time. They are more productive, they can bear more responsibilities and they can deliver quality in a chaotic environment. Especially if your company has just been established and you have not yet found an employee for all tasks, it is ideal if you have a few of these centipedes in the office.

Or not?

Research shows that it is impossible for a person to concentrate on different tasks at the same time. We can not multitask, not even women. Why not? And what is the downside of multitasking?


multitasking at work


What is multitasking?

Wikipedia writes about multitasking :

Multitasking is the execution of multiple actions or processes at the same time. Multitasking is often associated with fast business. The term comes from the computer world, where multitasking means that different computer programs are running simultaneously, using the same processor.

An example of multitasking is reading an e-mail at the same time, eating a meal and having a telephone conversation.

Now, as humans, we are of course not a computer. We can (unfortunately) only do one thing at a time. Let’s delve deeper into that:


Multitasking can lead to more stress and therefore more absenteeism.

In our toolkit, you will find useful tools to combat this absence.

Download the toolkit for free here


Multitasking: advantages and disadvantages

Multi-taxing means that you would perform two information processing or thought processes simultaneously. You perform both processes accurately and just as quickly. When an employee multitasks, it seems that he is doing the tasks simultaneously and is efficient, but the tasks require different attention. He cannot fully concentrate on a task and becomes increasingly distracted.

His focus goes from one task to the other and that takes time and energy and he will make more mistakes. The idea that multitasking saves you time and is able to deliver the same quality is therefore incorrect. A manager who is looking for a multitasking employee probably means that he is looking for an employee who is professional, efficient and flexible.

Also read: increase the effectiveness of employees


multitasking, is it healthy?


Multitasking and stress

Multitasking employees are usually busy with their work all day long and with all kinds of aspects of their work. Many of them find all tasks equally important and they get stressed out if they don’t complete a part of a task.

In addition, employees are often required to deliver a certain amount of work and that the work is also of a certain quality. It is difficult or even impossible to multitask while meeting all those requirements. Multitasking leads to more stress.

It is also interesting that in the brain the Frontal Lob and the Hippocampus are important for multitasking. These are the same areas in the brain that are active during stressful situations.

Also read: Stress among employees



Is there a lot of stress among colleagues and is this really a problem?

Do something about it!

View the training here: stress management for employees


The consequences of multitasking

There are managers who can also have their employees multitask under meetings. Just answer an e-mail from a customer under the meeting. But while they allow multitasking, their opinion about this employee is influenced by it.

This is because it seems as if the employee is not involved in the meeting and with the team.

Multitasking, therefore, takes more time and gives more stress, while the quality also goes down. Employees can therefore tackle tasks as much as possible one by one. That way they can give every task 100% attention.

An employee who performs tasks not simultaneously but one after the other gets more done. He can concentrate better and is more involved. He is also more efficient and he will make fewer mistakes. But what is perhaps most important is that he will at least stay fit to do all the work. He will experience less work stress and will, therefore, enjoy his work more.

Also read: let the employee set limits



Who are we?

Milltain supports, with a team of experienced trainers, organizations in the prevention of stress and the (re) finding of work happiness in the workplace. Our training courses are aimed at managers within companies. A burnout quickly costs the organization € 70,000.

In addition to financial suffering, human suffering is great. Not only for the employee but also for close colleagues who have to deal with the blows. Before you know it you are in a negative vicious circle.

Do you want an effective approach to long-term absenteeism and increasing work pleasure? (instead of extinguishing continuous fires).

We are happy to inform you about our training courses: 


About the author
My name is Ruud Meulenberg. Owner and founder of Milltain and Meulenberg Training & Coaching.
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