As humans we relish our perceived ability to multitask. We see it almost as a uniquely human skill. The more tasks we can juggle, the more we’re winning, right? Not according to the experts. Quite the opposite in fact. So, what cost does context switching have for our productivity?
Context switching, defined as the act of jumping between various unrelated tasks without necessarily completing any one of them, is both inefficient and draining. According to research by American psychologist Gerald Weinberg, for every new task adopted, 20% of working time is lost to context switching. By the time you’re juggling four or five tasks, you may as well go home (metaphorically or physically).
So, how do we reduce context switching and improve productivity in a world where we’re constantly being pulled in different directions?
1. Behavioural change
There a several things we can do on a behavioural level from time-blocking, creating ‘themed’ days to using microbreaks to recharge your focus. RescueTime have some handy tips in their Context Switching blog.
At Valo, we’re all about creating digital workplace solutions to increase productivity, amongst other things. That’s why we created Valo Connect to help reduce context switching so you can get more out of your workday. Read on to find out how.
2. Streamline your digital workplace
How many tools and apps do your employees use on a typical day in (or out of) the office? Too many tools can mean a lot of time wasted switching between them. All that logging in and out, jumping between tabs, can seriously disrupt workflow.
Valo Connect is Valo’s complete digital workplace solution that brings all your workplace tools together into one app you already know and love: Microsoft Teams. That means you can see all your appointments, To Do lists, documents, people and even company updates in one click.
One easy workstation can be customized to consolidate the tools you need to complete your workday easily, efficiently, and successfully.
Valo Connect also comes with a powerful search function. It will help you to track down information, data, documents, forms, updates and people both within your company, and even out across the internet too.
3. Personalize for focus
No one wants to be bombarded by information they don’t need and that isn’t relevant to them. It’s distracting, and eats up valuable time and headspace.
Personalization is key to this. Allowing employees to configure their digital workplace tools to create their own personalized environments within Teams and their intranet can help to reduce context switching.
Allowing internal comms to tailor information to roles or personas is invaluable. Sharing only relevant content with employees keeps communications efficient and more effective, and cuts distractions.
All our digital workplace tools are created with personalization in mind. Valo Connect’s “Connect Me” feature allows employees to create their own personalized dashboard giving them access to everything they need for the day ahead, streamlining their digital workplace.
In addition, Valo Intranet, available within Valo Connect, allows internal comms to avoid information overload by defining different audiences to target content based on department or location.
4. Freedom from FOMO
Finally, it may sound simple but cutting out the noise of notifications can really help us keep our minds on the task at hand. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has us constantly checking our phones, social media and other apps and it’s distracting and counter-productive.
Changing your notification settings and putting aside time in the day to check these things can be liberating. Okay, so it takes some willpower too. But practice makes perfect.