Instructor: David Schuff, Section 003

More Devices = Less Productivity

Often times, we feel the need to do more at once to get through a pile of work. However, this can mean that we are making less progress through the aforementioned pile as our brain cannot handle doing more than one task at a time.

Our brain cannot actually do multiple tasks at once and instead of doing two or three tasks at the same time, in reality, our brain is splitting its focus, our brain unable to work in harmony and lowering performance.

It’s important to factor in when putting more devices in the hands of employees working with information technology that they can suffer overload. If you’re asking an employee to do a task while being constantly ready to respond to an email, they will spend half of their time – and half of their brain power – checking for it and once an email comes in for them to respond to, it derails their entire thought process and leads to a period of non-productivity as they try to restart their work. Limiting devices can ultimately make employees more productive in IT and lead to fewer hours spent doing the same amount of work.

To learn more about the reverse correlation between task and productivity, click here

3 Responses to More Devices = Less Productivity

  • You made some interesting points about the reverse correlation between devices and productivity. The fact that the brain cannot work parallel with productivity when multitasking is an interesting point. In my work experience, I noticed that when we had meetings with technology (skype for business) the team was not as productive and involved versus in-person meetings. Additionally, the theory of Parkinson’s Law applies here (“work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”). When there are so many technological distractions, employees may not be as likely to finish something earlier than the allotted time. This debate also relates to the different types of workers (Millenials, Baby Boomers etc.), and with the inclusion of millennials in today’s workforce, it will be interesting to see how technology advancements shape companies in the upcoming years.

  • I agree with a lot of the points you made here Alan.
    This actually reminds me of the story My Portal we read in MIS 3535 in our change management book. This story also talked about the dangers of overloading people with information and a lot of it not sticking. The solution in this case was to limit the amount of notifications people received that way they could prioritize on the most important ones and ultimately retain more. I think your idea of also limiting devices could also help in this effort, a lot of people would benefit from devoting their focus to a limited amount of things.

  • This is really interesting to me. I always thought that more we get devices the more productivity we will have. But as I was reading this I agreed with a lot of the points. I also experienced the same this as Leah experienced in her job. We always had daily scrums online through google hangouts because we had some of our team members work remotely. But when they came in the office our 30 minute scrums shrunk by half to 15 minutes with all the job taken care of. Also I feel that whenever I try to work something for school or work, technology (phone) is always the distraction I have.

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