12 Unexpected Multitasking Statistics

Multitasking statistics from numerous studies show that multitasking occurs every day. Living in a busy world where everything happens fast requires a lot of mental energy. A constant flow of messages, notifications, ads, etc., prevents us from focusing on a single task.

New research shows that human beings can’t perform two equally demanding tasks simultaneously. Yet, as you’ll see later in this article, technology has enabled people to multitask to a certain degree.

The following stats give you information about multitasking concerning productivity, creativity, and media usage among teens and working adults.

Top Statistics on Multitasking (Editor’s Choice)

  • 81% of students multitask while doing homework.
  • 76% of US adults use their smartphones to check emails while watching TV.
  • 63% of employees use smartphones for multitasking.
  • Multitasking decreases individual performance by 15%.
  • 52% of Gen Zers are more productive at work when talking to a colleague.
  • 42% of people feel multitasking improves their quality of life.
  • 30% of remote meetings involve email multitasking.

Corporate Multitasking Statistics

Nowadays, multitasking is a highly desirable corporate skill. Recruiters expect potential employees to have the ability to manage several duties at once successfully. As a result, candidates often put it on their resumes to improve their chances of getting hired.

The following stats will give you an insight into the latest information on multitasking at work and how to cope with it.

1. 42% of the participants in a study feel multitasking improves their quality of life.

(ResearchGate)

According to an online survey, 42% of respondents strongly agree that performing simultaneous activities at work makes their lives better. These multitasking facts mostly come from 30–40-year-olds, proving the former teen multitaskers have become part of the business society.

The results also show these people spend three to five hours multitasking every day. They might be more efficient, but switching tasks can jeopardize the quality of their work. Therefore, monotasking is the way to make the business culture more employee-friendly.

2. 63% of survey participants use cell phones or smartphones for multitasking.

(ResearchGate)

The multitasking data from the same survey (look at the previous stat) shows that more than half of the participants use cell phones while doing something else at work. Around 30% reported they use personal computers. The rest mentioned radio, TV, personal data assistants, and similar. 

PCs are the devices employees predominantly use in the workplace. However, cell phones allow them to catch up with new posts on social media, read the news, etc. Multitasking statistics imply that cell phones in the office distract nearby people, too. To prevent that from happening or reduce the damage, people should minimize the use of second devices in the workplace.

3. 30% of remote meetings involve email multitasking.

(Microsoft)

A large-scale study of multitasking behavior during remote meetings from 2020 involved 715 Microsoft employees. As meetings move to remote, the percentage of multitasking increases — people spend as much as 30% of remote meetings sending emails.

The same analysis has found that meeting size, length, type, and timing affect multitasking. The longer the meeting, the higher the need for responding to emails. With the addition of the “always-on” culture, remote meetings put more pressure on working people. Short meetings could keep their attention on the task at hand.

Multitasking Productivity Statistics

After decades of research, it’s evident that multitasking has tremendous effects on one’s productivity. Surprisingly, it can have positive and negative consequences on individuals and teams.

As you read on, you’ll see that not every generation is equally capable of multitasking. You’ll find out how some overcome it, as well.

4. 52% of Gen Zers say they are more productive at work while talking to a colleague.

(PR Newswire)

The data on multitasking from a global survey shows 60% of Baby Boomers demand a quiet working environment. Unlike them, half of the Gen Zers achieve high productivity when chatting to a coworker. What’s more, 55% of them prefer working in open offices. Also, 20% of Gen Zers spend half the day on a multi-party call.

The biggest distraction for 65% of 5,150 participants is a colleague talking nearby, multitasking statistics show. Taking all this into account, Gen Zers are more used to distractions than older generations and challenge the traditional definitions of productive environments.

5. Multitasking decreases individual performance by 15%.

(European Research Studies Journal)

This experiment proves that simultaneous activities decrease individual performance and make people less creative. When multitasking, individuals need 15% more time to complete the given tasks. Additionally, multitasking doesn’t affect the correctness of the answers unless the respondents are under even slight time pressure. These human multitasking facts favor monotasking, which relieves the stress of performing simultaneous activities.

6. Organizations are 27.5% less productive because of employee multitasking.

(Realization)

Numerous studies have confirmed individual multitaskers are less productive and more susceptible to distractions. One such study that involved 45 companies from various industries sheds light on the multitasking facts in organizations. This loss in productivity costs them more than $450 billion per year globally.

Realization’s Flow-based Project Management software has increased their productivity by 38%. The study results demonstrate multitasking could be the main reason for reduced productivity. What’s more, it’s often overlooked. However, once multitasking is eliminated, employees become more productive, making the company more successful.

7. Multitasking with communication tools takes 40% of one’s productive time at work.

(RescueTime)

According to the latest multitasking study data, an average employee spends nearly half of their productive time multitasking with communication tools. They keep their email inboxes open all day. Internal chats, instant messages, and various notifications are always on, urging them to read new messages within seconds upon receiving them.

Unless used for sharing ideas related to the joint project, communication tools can become distracting. Consequently, employees’ productivity decreases. This is a prevalent issue because it also makes people switch contexts. Instead of dividing their attention across multiple activities demanding equal mental effort, people should focus on one task to remain productive.

Media Multitasking Facts

The Net Generation, or Millennials, aren’t alone in the digital world anymore. Millennials might have beaten the older generations, but their children have become the masters of switching between multiple types of content.

Exposure to multiple sources of information during some other activities isn’t a burden for them. Quite the contrary, they thrive in such contexts. Look at the following stats to learn more about this topic.

8. 76% of US adults use their smartphones to check or respond to emails while watching TV.

(Statista)

The multitasking statistics from this survey show data on people aged 18 or older. About 76% of them check and respond to emails while watching TV. Social media comes second with 71%. Looking up information about the TV program is the third-ranked activity with 68%. Other activities include playing games (55%) and shopping online (54%).

Another online survey supports these findings — when asked how often, if ever, they use smartphones while watching TV, 35% answered usually, and 30% said sometimes. The results of both surveys agree with the rest of the studies on multitasking — it’s an ever-present phenomenon empowered by technology.

9. Homework multitasking statistics show teens think media multitasking while doing homework doesn’t affect the quality of their work.

(OxfordLearning)

Media multitasking is quite common among teens, even while doing their homework. Watching TV, using social media, texting, and listening to music while doing homework don’t seem to affect the quality of their work.

10. 80.9% of college students multitask while studying.

(Western Washington University)

Out of 47 participants in this survey, only 19.1% don’t multitask while studying. While 80.9% believe multitasking is possible, only 34% think they are doing well at both activities. Although they feel they are multitasking, in reality, they are switching from task to task.

Multitasking facts suggest the human brain doesn’t have the architecture for multitasking. On the other hand, people feel much better knowing they’ve done so much by multitasking per unit of time. Unfortunately, it’s evident that studying and talking on the phone, for example, doesn’t show results.

11. Teens are media multitasking 40% of the time while doing some other activities.

(Ohio State News)

This number is from a recent study analyzing 71 adolescents. Besides detecting how much time they spend on media multitasking, the latest trends in multitasking have also revealed the participants’ positive and negative emotions increase when they start multitasking. Yet, the longer they multitask, the more these emotions subside.

Simultaneous tasks take too much mental energy and leave no space for either positive or negative feelings. The study implies that teens multitask to make the main activity more rewarding. Introducing a second activity into the primary is excellent for reinforcing a positive attitude to studying, for instance.

12. 81% of students multitask while doing homework, facts about multitasking reveal.

(ASCD)

Time management is a source of stress for 55% of the 145,000 high school students. As a result, a considerable number of them multitask instead of focusing on their homework. The 15-year extensive research has discovered 36% of them are on social media, and 28% are watching TV, YouTube, Netflix, or other video platforms.

The students have shown poor study habits, too. Numerous studies uncover multitasking makes it more challenging to create memories students can retrieve later. These results serve as a reminder to teachers to engage students in the appropriate learning activities.

Multitasking Statistics — Conclusion

As you can see, multitasking has puzzled many experts. Numerous studies involving people of various ages in different contexts imply they are not multitasking but switching tasks. By trying to do as much as possible, people divide their attention across several activities.

As a result, their productivity decreases. Digital natives are the only exception. They are used to spreading mental resources across various tasks at once. Even in their cases, multitasking isn’t the ideal solution because it reduces their emotional response.

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