Accomplishing many goals at once has always been highly valued in the workplace. But multitasking is not only difficult for the individual, but detrimental to their work. Experts who work in IT support for Arkansas companies can clearly see the pitfalls of this “too many hats for one employee” mentality.
If you have a small company, your office manager probably takes on the brunt of managing many different facets of the business, including your IT needs. That might seem like the most economical solution – after all, it eliminates the need for an IT person on staff. However, unless your office manager is qualified to diagnose, repair, and configure any IT problems that occur on a daily basis, you’re actually losing money. Let’s look at some of the basic pitfalls in having your IT needs met in house by someone whose day-to-day job function is not technology:
- Leaves regular responsibilities unmet. All IT functions pull your office manager away from their regular work. IT needs are often not accounted for in day-to-day responsibilities, especially when you consider the cost of downtime when technology becomes unresponsive. When there is an issue, troubleshooting and fixing the problem will often mean regular job functions fall behind.
- Time management. The time it takes an office manager to handle these functions will likely be double or triple the time it would take someone who’s specifically trained to service your office’s range of technology.
- There is still a cost of hiring out for serious issues. With any problem the office manager can’t fix, they’ll need to hire out to have the problems repaired. That decision will often take place after many hours of blind trouble shooting, and leaving recurring issues to be fixed until the last minute will only worsen the situation and increase your costs.
The Trouble with Multitasking
Clifford Nass, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, has produced compelling evidence on the detrimental nature of multitasking, which was cited in a Time article. Nass found that multitaskers not only did poorly while doing multiple jobs, but that the act of chronically diverting their attention by multitasking took a toll on their ability to perform even one task alone or transition into another task. Additionally, being overwhelmed by overlapping tasks creates prioritization issues, as multitaskers do not realize how they are placing their priorities on certain tasks over others. This means that they may prioritize completing something trivial in the moment and create new issues by de-prioritizing a more important issue at hand.
Relating these findings to your employees, you can see that having too many incongruent jobs limits their ability to concentrate on any given task. Each activity takes longer and the error rate is often higher. This indicates that the best course of action is to have employees concentrate on one assignment to completion (or to a predetermined point) before dealing with a different assignment.
The same is true for responsibilities. The IT support for Arkansas companies has traditionally been a gray area in terms of defining employment needs. In smaller companies, there usually is not one person consistently working on the handling the office’s IT needs until a problem arises, which is not the best time to make decisions about your infrastructure.