Remote work opportunities have proven to be a silver lining of the Covid pandemic, bringing employees more flexibility and autonomy at work.
But on the other hand, many experience high anxiety levels working out of the office, thinking that their work is invisible. This attitude can lead to overworking and a constant need to be “available” and jump to every notification that they may get.
When employees feel pressured to complete set goals or urged to answer every email or Slack message instantly, they tend to multitask. They frequently shift their focus from meaningful work, bringing down their productivity in the long run.
If you run remote teams, you want to create a working environment that fosters high productivity. The first step towards achieving this goal is to eliminate the negative effects multitasking can have on employees’ productivity and performance.
Here, you’ll find effective ways to curb multitasking and show your employees how to use their work hours effectively, reach their goals, and feel more productive and confident about their achievements.
There are various simple techniques you can use to organize employees’ time better, curbing their need for multitasking. Timeboxing turns out to be one of the most effective.
Timeboxing can help your employees stay focused and get the job done faster. You create time boxes by making estimates about the time needed to complete a specific task. Advanced digital tools like remote work software can help you do this by tracking time spent on ongoing projects and tasks. You can use these track records to make data-based estimates regarding specific tasks, creating accurate time boxes for each task.
Each task should get a time box. Knowing how long they need to stay focused on a single piece of work will help your employees avoid multitasking and focus on deep work during a specific time box.
A Berkley research on productivity states that employees tend to be 43% more productive when they don’t have to juggle between different tasks and can focus on a single piece of work at a time.
There’s one significant difference between timeboxing and time blocking. With time blocking you tend to group similar tasks together, trying to complete them within a specific time block, instead of setting the expected time frame needed to complete a single task.
This technique can help your employees battle the urge to multitask. Employees usually tend to jump and check every email or Slack they get, disrupting their workflow. Asana research shows that 80% of them work with their email tab constantly open.
You can lower this percentage by dedicating two-hour time blocks each day to handling emails and other communications, allowing your employees to dedicate the rest of their day to productive work, without feeling overwhelmed or stressed by constant interruptions.
The Pomodoro Technique
Many remote employees often skip breaks to stay on top of their workload and show managers that they are highly productive. This can lead to overworking, exhaustion, and even burnout which can affect their productivity and mental health alike.
If you want to avoid this grim scenario, try to show that taking breaks can be productive. This is what Pomodoro time-management technique is all about. It breaks work hours into 25-minute work sessions followed by 5-minute breaks. When you finish five Pomodoros, you can take a longer 20-minute break.
This technique is widely popular among employees because they can use these frequent short breaks to check on their emails, and social media feeds or to have a snack, leaving most of their time for uninterrupted work.
Multitasking, once considered a valuable skill has recently proven to be a distraction that affects employees’ focus and productivity. Luckily there are simple yet effective ways time management techniques that can help you and your remote teams become more time-efficient, dedicating time to focused creative work.