Help Employees Kick Their Multitasking Habit

200334050-001Today’s employees are more stressed than ever. Between attempts to multitask, constant disruptions, technology alerts, and expectations from all areas of life, they’re having a hard time honing in on their most important priorities, and thereby reducing their stress.

We live in a world where technology is enabling us to do great things. We’re able to be in touch with nearly anyone at anytime, we can track and monitor just about anything we’d like, and all of this goes with us on a compact smartphone.

But this technology is crossing the line of working for us. Instead, it’s making us work for it. With this accessibility comes the expectation to respond immediately, to be available for a conversation at any hour, and to just check your email one more time. In other words, constant multitasking.

Multitasking is a huge problem for today’s workforce. When we’re asked to do more with less and to be as efficient as possible, we immediately multitask. But we can get more done by focusing on many things at once, right? Wrong. Consider these stats:

All this is just the tip of the iceberg. But with all this data and more pointing out that multitasking is bad for us, why do we continue to do it?

The answer’s dopamine, our “gimme more” neurotransmitter. In the absence of dopamine, we feel bored. We seek the hit of it we receive when we get a notification for a new email, text message, or ping because we’re hard-wired to want new information. It’s exciting!

But with multitasking now being dubbed an efficiency killer (not to mention the stress hormone releases that come with it), how do you help yourself and your employees minimize it and perform at peak levels?

  • Get employees in the habit of setting one key item to accomplish for the day. What’s the one item that, if they don’t get it done, will leave them more stressed tomorrow and feeling behind for the week? What’s going to drive the company and them forward today? Bonus points for helping them tie this into department and/or company goals, so they’re even more motivated to set and accomplish their daily task. If everyone knows where they’re going, then the stress that can come with ambiguity begins to vanish.
  • Encourage them to block time. Getting any activity done starts with having the time to do it. Many of us are familiar with meetings that can rapidly fill days, run over time, and cause us to frequently context shift. Stress can come in a big way from employees not feeling like they’re moving forward and creating momentum. Blocking off time in a calendar, and creating a culture where this time is respected, can be a huge benefit to employees, their productivity, and their stress levels.
  • Be present. Be all in and fully committed to whatever you’re doing. It’s so common to have laptops open during meetings that rules are being instituted against it and during long meetings email breaks are encouraged. When our laptops (and devices) are available, we can’t help but be distracted from the meeting conversation. The best use of everyone’s time is to be present in each meeting, participate in the conversation, and help make decisions.

Following these tips will help you boost your company’s productivity, manage and even prevent stress in your employees, and help everyone at your organization thrive.

Want to learn more about the benefits of focus in your workforce? Join our free webinar on October 29, 2014, “Priority: How To Help Employees Focus and Reduce Stress.

Shawn is passionate about finding ways technology can change the way we work. At Virgin Pulse he works on the marketing team to create workforces that have the energy, focus, and drive necessary to fully engage in all aspects of life.

Wonder Why Employees’ Focus Keeps Waning? {Infographic}

Today’s workforce carries more responsibilities than ever, but the inability to focus is running rampant in the workplace. Our latest survey, Driven By Distractions: Why Employees’ Focus Is Waning At Work & What You Can Do About It, features responses from 1,000 participants (not Virgin Pulse members), and reveals what’s distracting them on the job – and ways they can regain their focus.

With a laundry list of obligations and an equal amount of disruptions, employees find it difficult to maintain focus on the job. So, if it’s not their work, what’s got employees’ attention? The survey found technology disruptions and overly-social co-workers are two top culprits.

Productivity and focus “hacks” abound, and there’s a whole bunch of options available to employees to help them keep the distractions at bay – but maintaining healthy habits trumps them all. An impressive 70 percent of respondents say their health habits have a noticeable impact on their ability to focus at work.

But here’s the bottom line: whether your workforce is totally tuned in or completely unfocused, you can help by investing in employees’ well-being— and your people would welcome the support.

View our infographic below to understand more about what’s distracting employees at work and how healthy habits help keep them focused.

VirginPulse_Distractions_IG

 

Read the report’s full findings and check out five actionable tips to improve employee focus. Download the full survey report.

3 Ways to Drive Company Culture & Employee Engagement

disengagedBusiness today is anything but usual. In recent years, corporate competition has reached new heights. With increased competition comes the need to keep up, and many organizations expect employees to be available 24/7. Thanks to technology, they can be – but it means they’re never unplugging from work, which drives burn out, higher levels of stress, and other unhealthy repercussions for employees.

This is affecting all aspects of employees’ lives, including their engagement.

If your people are spread thin, there’s a slim chance they’re taking the time they need for healthy habits like exercise, sleep and eating right – which only makes them feel worse. In fact, stress is behind an estimated 60 to 90 percent of doctor visits, according to Harvard Business Review, and anxious employees are racking up $600 more than average in healthcare annually, costing companies over $300 billion each year.

When employees aren’t feeling great, they’re not bringing their best to work, meaning poorer productivity and lower engagement rates for you. With 70 percent of U.S. workers disengaged, according to Gallup, checked-out employees are driving a $300 billion price tag in lost productivity, the same source reports.

The bright side here, though, is that you can do something about it. Show employees a little love by supporting all aspects of their well-being – including their physical, mental and social health. By driving a deeper relationship with your people and supporting their health, you’ll set them up for success, boost business (like higher productivity and profitability, and lower absenteeism, turnover, and safety and quality incidents, according to Gallup), and improve company culture.

Here are three ways you can make it happen.

  1. Make health a no-brainer

If your company culture’s driven by weekly donut deliveries and happy hours, it’s going to be hard for employees to get and stay healthy. Instead, encourage employees to hit the pavement instead of the bar, and replace the pastries with nutritious snacks. A healthy company culture makes it easier for employees to stick with their wellness goals so they can feel great at work and home.

  1. Cheer them on shutterstock_151790942

Show employees you care by supporting personal well-being and productivity goals and celebrating their daily wins. Whether that means a shout-out when they complete a big project before deadline, or offering financial rewards when they hit their activity goals within your corporate wellness program, a little encouragement goes a long way.

  1. Use technology for good

Today’s tech has made it easier than ever for employees to get work done. But if your employees are tethered to their devices round the clock, then tech may be to blame for their stress and disengagement. Encourage employees to unplug and make it clear you don’t expect they’ll respond to non-essential emails sent after their day’s done. You’ll help them relax and recharge so they can bring their best to work and focus on what matters.

Molding a healthier, more engaged, and productive workforce starts with small steps. Learn more about ways you can support employees’ and your company’s success by reading the survey report, “Win their hearts & minds: Show Employees You Care & Boost Engagement.

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Virgin Pulse clients and members discuss how we change lives for good!