The high cost of multitasking

Mounting research suggests we are being driven to distraction by frequent message notifications and an overwhelming temptation to multitask in the always-on, connected world. The question is, What is the individual and collective impact?

According to developmental biologist John Medina, our brains are not conditioned for multitasking. It slows us down and increases errors up to 50 percent. Studies like “The Brain Cannot Multitask” found it increases stress and temporarily lowers IQ, affecting cognitive abilities as much as missing a night’s sleep or greater than smoking marijuana (check out “Multitasking is making you stupid” for more details). One study, “Effects of Multitasking on Organizations,” estimates the negative impacts of multitasking cost the global economy up to $450 billion annually!

FuzeBox commissioned a survey to explore the extent of multitasking during meetings. Responses from over 2,000 information workers confirm we are habitually distracted:

  • Ninety-two percent of our survey respondents confessed to multitasking during meetings.
  • Forty-one percent admitted to multitasking “often” or “all the time.”

The survey found people multitask more during phone calls (57 percent) and web conferences (23 percent), less during in-person meetings (16 percent) and least during video conferences (4 percent). Industry studies have validated video conferencing’s ability to improve meeting effectiveness, drive better engagement and accelerate decision making.

In the new distraction economy, workers need strategies and more-engaging tools to bring focus and engagement to meetings. Business-class video conferencing used to be expensive, hard to use and not mobile friendly. Freemium tools like FuzeBox are making video collaboration available to everyone and bringing more engaging meeting experiences across devices.

View the infographic here.