Is tech multi-tasking ruining UK workers’ attention spans?

The attention spans of time-poor UK workers are suffering as a result of multi-screening across their devices at work when they should be concentrating.

According to a survey of 1,002 UK workers in full or part-time employment, carried out by Probrand.co.uk, 89% confess to ‘tech multi-tasking’ – or checking their devices during meetings.

A further 81% are also guilty of doing so when they are actually carrying out other tasks at work.

Checking emails is the number one task Brits will compulsively undertake in this manner. However, bosses need not worry too much as, in these cases at least, workers are seemingly focused on something else that is related to work.

But it’s not all positive, as social media channels and instant messaging (including text messages, WhatsApp and more) followed in second and third place, according to the survey.

While 45% of those who do this kind of gadget-based multi-tasking find it actually helps them to be more efficient, 53% admit that their concentration actually suffers as a result.

Matt Royle, marketing director at Probrand, commented: “The rise of multiple devices in the workplace, in addition to the advent of remote cloud-based technologies, mean that it’s never been easier for workers to be switched on 24/7 – but the research shows this isn’t always helpful. Some workers are being distracted by their devices during meetings, which can actually hamper productivity and focus.

However, Royle went on to note the benefits of having multiple devices in the workplace commenting that “…technology has drastically improved working practices and has enabled us to make all areas of our working lives more efficient – with much of this efficiency being driven by access to multiple devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets.

“This is the workforce of the future, where a fully mobile workforce can collaborate and continue working when travelling or outside the office. This enterprise mobile movement is set to continue and those who fully embrace the multi-device environment will enable employees to work more flexibly and efficiently.”

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