Task errors by emergency physicians are associated with interruptions, multitasking, fatigue and working memory capacity: a prospective, direct observation study
Interruptions, multitasking and poor sleep were associated with significantly increased rates of prescribing errors among emergency physicians. WMC mitigated the negative influence of these factors to an extent. These results confirm experimental findings in other fields and raise questions about the acceptability of the high rates of multitasking and interruption in clinical environments.
This is the classic study that showed, with real data, that knowledge workers are interrupted and switch tasks every few minutes. Our study confirms what many of our colleagues and ourselves have been informally observing for some time: that information work is very fragmented. What surprised us was exactly how fragmented the work is. In a typical day, we found that people spend an average of three minutes working on any single event before switching to another event.
Our findings show that some patterns of email use are associated with lower perceived productivity and higher stress. The longer daily duration spent on email, the lower the assessed productivity and the higher the stress. With high email use, people who chose when to self-interrupt to deal with email, and “Batchers”, people who cluster email use, assessed their productivity higher at the end of the day compared to those who check email triggered by email notifications, and to those who check email consistently. To our knowledge, our study is the first in situ multi-method investigation of email activity, workplace outcomes and stress. Our results lay ground for future theoretical exploration of these effects, and provide valuable practical lessons for organizations and knowledge workers.
No man is an island, and these workers form part of teams and organizations. Information overload has started to play havoc with organizational processes in the nineties, and by now we’re so used to this that we barely remember the cause as we live with effects that we simply take for granted. Below I investigate how information overload is breaking vital processes in practically all knowledge‐based organizations.
This last article in the series addresses an impact of Information Overload that victimizes the individual knowledge worker directly, although the damage inevitably extends to the organization employing this individual. This is the degradation of the employee’s quality of life.
Information overload has started to play havoc with organizational processes in the nineties, and by now we’re so used to this that we barely remember the cause as we live with effects that we simply take for granted. Below I investigate how information overload is breaking vital processes in practically all knowledge‐based organizations.
In the newly-released report, “Enough Already! Stop Bad Email,” based on custom research, The Grossman Group tackles the state of email in the workplace, getting at the heart of the problem and laying out the solutions. Based on data from corporate executives, middle managers, and employees in Fortune 1000 companies, this pioneering study identifies the good, the bad, and the ugly—really ugly—of email, revealing what needs to stay and what needs to go.
It’s time to give employees their lives—and sanity—back.
If time loss is the most obvious way that Information Overload affects organizational effectiveness, the destruction of mental acuity is the least obvious one. It is also probably the worst, in terms of actual damage to the bottom line. What we’re talking about here is a reduction in a wide range of mental capacities, all of them highly relevant to the performance of knowledge work.
For all the benefits of the information technology and communications revolution, it has a well-known dark side: information overload and its close cousin, attention fragmentation.
These scourges hit CEOs and their colleagues in the C-suite particularly hard because senior executives so badly need uninterrupted time to synthesize information from many different sources, reflect on its implications for the organization, apply judgment, make trade-offs, and arrive at good decisions.
We know that Information Overload costs knowledge workers around one day a week, but few people understand where this figure is coming from, how it was measured, and what the underlying time-waste mechanisms are.