People performance

Is context switching affecting your team’s productivity?

4' reading

“You can’t do your best work when your attention is scattered across 12 open apps, 34 ongoing conversations, and a to-do list a mile long (…). Make your focus your competitive advantage.”  

Jory Mackay, Editor at Rescue Time

Leaping between different tasks, tools, and activities can be a huge barrier to team productivity. 

Today’s employees (whether they’re working from home or at the office!) often find themselves switching between different tools, platforms, and activities in order to perform their day-to-day work.

Jumping between unrelated tasks (known as context switching) can have drastic implications for team productivity, causing unnecessary stress, overwhelm, and creating an unfocused environment for teamwork.

So, what can you do about it? 

Context switching is all about…context!

Addressing what context switching is and where it becomes problematic is crucial if you want to help your team members become more productive and make better decisions with their time.

While some scenarios may be relatively harmless, context switching with important, high-priority tasks can often make a critical difference in your team output.

“Understanding the hidden costs of multitasking may help people to choose strategies that boost their efficiency – above all, by avoiding multitasking, especially with complex tasks.” 

American Psychological Association

According to the American Psychological Association, prioritising which tasks are multi-tasking ‘appropriate’ and which require absolute dedication and focus will go a long way to helping individual team members manage their schedule and focus on needle-moving work.

Producing “Deep work” plays a crucial role in building high-performing companies…

“If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are.” 

Cal Newport

For growing companies, the ability to produce at a higher level can make all the difference between sustainable growth and spiralling success.

Creating the right environment, structures, and processes to help your employees to produce great work is absolutely vital.

4 Tips to design a workplace environment that supports team productivity:

  1. Prioritise productivity at an organisational and individual level

While teaching team members to manage their time and prioritise tasks is important, this must be reinforced by your company’s approach, top-down.

If team members feel pressured to respond to emails within minutes or don’t feel trusted by their managers and peers, they may be more likely to spend unnecessary time in tasks that don’t add value or even adopt behaviours that prioritise volume over the quality of work produced.

It’s up to your people managers and company leaders to make it clear that productivity does not equate to ‘busy-ness’ and to value employees based on the quality of their contributions!

  1. Create a culture of ‘deep work’, where employees are encouraged to get into a flow state

Too often, managers pressure team members to be available and responsive, sometimes even creating distractions that take them away from their work!

Creating a culture of deep work means carving out space for your employees to do their best work, and giving them the right tools for the job.

That could mean: encouraging team members to map out their schedules with 2-3 hour slots where they are unavailable (and working on important tasks!), or giving them access to meeting rooms where they won’t be interrupted by their colleagues!

Above all: ensure that your team members feel fully enabled and supported, so they can make the right decisions around how and when they work without worrying about how their peers and managers will respond.

  1. Be strategic about which platforms you use

Being strategic about which tools you use can go a long way to creating a more productive experience for team members.

Carefully consider which platforms are essential before recommending them to your team, and remember that sometimes less is more!

At Exelero, we are firm believers that performing more tasks in one place can help avoid unnecessary distraction, so you can keep your focus on what matters.

  1. Encourage team members to prioritise what matters

When your team is feeling overwhelmed and ‘reactive’ it can be hard for them to create their most impactful work. We suggest spending more time prioritising and planning!

For example, teaching your team how to use the Eisenhower Matrix (pictured below) can be a helpful tool in getting them thinking about which tasks to focus on first.

Ready to drive your team to the next level?

Get in touch to find out how Exelero can help your team members deliver their most exceptional work. Our HR Suite manages team performance and internal communications all the way to hiring and onboarding, giving one place to manage all your people!

Article references:

RescueTime.com: https://blog.rescuetime.com/context-switching/ 

American Psychological Association

Cal Newport, Author of ‘Deep Work. Rules For Focused Success In A Distracted World’

Written on January 21, 2021

more about our blog

Being a nice boss and why it pays to be kind

Being a ‘nice boss’ and why it pays to be kind

Entrepreneurship

2' reading

Bosses: is it better to be feared or loved? While it’s important for leaders to be firm, being a great boss doesn’t mean intimidating and bullying your people into action […]

Continue to read
HR has a new role, and it’s critical to your company’s success

HR has a new role, and it’s critical to your company’s success!

Entrepreneurship

2' reading

HR… what’s it really for? People teams are often siloed and aren’t traditionally considered a ‘value-driver’ within the business. But in today’s people-centric workplaces, your HR team is crucial to […]

Continue to read
27May - How to design a workplace that supports mental wellness

How to design a workplace that supports mental wellness

People engagement

2' reading

Mental wellness has climbed to the top of many company agendas, and rightly so! At least one in six employees experience common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.  Poor […]

Continue to read

Start growing with Exelero today

With tools to make every part of your process more human and a support team excited to help you.

Book a demo

Subscribe to our People as Humans newsletter

Join a community of 500+ people leaders, HR professionals and entrepeneurs from companies such as Nokia, Microsoft, and numerous inspirational startups.

GDPR Compliance

What it is

A regulation that requires businesses to protect their clients’ personal data and privacy

Needed resolve

Be sure that Exelero is a trusted business and understand exactly how we collect, manage and store your data

Task manager

What it is

A centralized place to store all your people’s data and documents

Needed resolve

Keep your people aligned on priorities and help them stay focused and proactive

Brand assets

What it is

A section in which to include info about your brand and its style

Needed resolve

Internalize your desired brand and make it available to all so that everyone is aware of your unique style

Specific depts/offices that see announcements

What it is

A setting to choose which dept/office can see announcements

Needed resolve

Control who sees info, so the right people are aware of it

Likes & comments on announcements

What it is

A kind of social media feature that allows your people to like and comment on announcements posted on the ‘social wall’

Needed resolve

Keep your people proactive and encourage internal communication

Announcement history

What it is

A kind of ‘social wall’ on which to see all past announcements

Needed resolve

Allow your people to find past announcements quickly and easily in one place

Read confirmation

What it is

A way to see who has read the announcements on the ‘social wall’

Needed resolve

Ensure that your people keep up to date with important company announcements and keep track of who is aware of what

Announcements

What it is

A kind of ‘social wall’ on which chosen people share news with the company or a specific dept/office whenever they please

Needed resolve

Keep your people on the same page, only share relevant info and reduce the amount of emails sent

Customizable frequency of company updates

What it is

A setting to organize how often company updates can be posted on the ‘professional wall’

Needed resolve

Inform your people about company news frequently so they’re all on the same page

Internal communication

What it is

A system to keep your people aware of all open positions in your company

Needed resolve

Facilitate and speed up the employee referral process

Email notifications re: change

What it is

An automation to send email notifications to people of your choice when changes to material are made

Needed resolve

Keep specific people you choose aligned on any changes within company material

Embedded videos

What it is

An option to embed videos and other interactive media e.g. for onboarding or training

Needed resolve

Engage your people more, reduce costs of classroom training and keep track of who has done the training easily

Role based access control

What it is

A setting to control who sees what material

Needed resolve

Share confidential company info only with specific people

Employee custom fields

What it is

Personalised fields you can add to employee profiles (e.g. favorite food, sports) for all to see

Needed resolve

Heighten employee morale by sharing fun personal interests

Task assignment

What it is

A system to assign, manage and organize the tasks of those involved in the onboarding process

Needed resolve

Ensure everyone involved in the onboarding process is aligned and keep track of all the necessary tasks

Employee milestones

What it is

A checkbox that allows your people to select important milestones when they update their profiles

Needed resolve

Keep track of your people’s history while at your company in a visual timeline

Easy import of employees

What it is

An easy way to import your people using Google, uploading a CSV or inserting manually from Excel

Needed resolve

Import your people quickly and easily in the most convenient way for you

Company update history

What it is

A ‘professional wall’ on which all past updates are stored in one place

Needed resolve

Keep a record of company news that your people can access at any time to see your company’s progress

Personalized content

What it is

Your company’s material you’d like to share with your people

Needed resolve

Align your distributed workforce easily by storing content related to your company, its mission and its values in one place

Company updates

What it is

A ‘professional wall’ for leaders to share updates with the entire company

Needed resolve

Keep everyone aligned on current projects and future initiatives

Moods

What it is

Customizable forms for managers to quickly ask how their people are feeling and receive a clear visual rating

Needed resolve

Be constantly aware of how your people feel to pre-empt any issues that could impact employee turnover or your company’s overall mood. Make your people feel valued and significant regularly

Feedback

What it is

Feedback your people can request and give that can be private, shared with managers and/or HR, or even anonymous

Needed resolve

Boost productivity by stimulating self-evaluation and a desire to improve

Performance scorecards

What it is

Scorecards with perzonalizable fields in which managers give a rating to show their people whether they’re meeting expectations

Needed resolve

Monitor your people’s progress regularly to check they’re on the right track

1:1s

What it is

A method to share agendas for and arrange 1:1 meetings between managers and their people

Needed resolve

Keep your managers aligned with their people so everyone knows how to progress together

Folders

What it is

Folders and subfolders to keep all your material organized

Needed resolve

Simplifies employee communication and internal alignment by having company info quickly accessible in a logical structure

Celebrations

What it is

Reminders about things to celebrate, e.g. a birthday or work anniversary

Needed resolve

Create a sense of togetherness by showing your people you care about their achievements

Collaborative process, involving the right colleagues

What it is

A way to get relevant people to work together when onboarding new hires

Needed resolve

Make the onboarding process more valuable by involving more than one person

Exit interviews

What it is

Surveys conducted with individuals before they leave your company to cover why they’re leaving and what feedback they have for your company

Needed resolve

Gain a deeper insight into reasons for employee turnover, identify any negatives and correct them to increase employee engagement and retention

Single sign-on (SSO)

What it is

An authentication method that allows users to sign in only once to have access to all the software

Needed resolve

Give your people a simple and secure way to sign in to and avoid the frustration of them having to enter credentials every time

Filtered results based on employee demographics

What it is

Filters that allow you to view the answers you want from specific teams, depts, offices, etc.

Needed resolve

Sort data logically so that you can gain background info, understand the context of your participants and analyze everything together easily

Group training

What it is

Webinars to train your entire workforce on the software

Needed resolve

Organize training sessions for your people led by the Exelero team, who’ll show them how to fully adopt and exploit all its features

Software implementation & training

What it is

Our support via video call to get you fully set up with and trained on the software

Needed resolve

Be guided through the setup process and receive full training from the Exelero team, so you can use the software to its full potential

Exelero University

What it is

A resources area with useful info about Exelero, its software and HR strategy and processes

Needed resolve

Give your people all the resources they need, so they can make the most of the software’s features and learn about important HR procedures

Insights by Exelero AI

What it is

AI that identifies below average data and sends notifications to tackle critical issues before they impact employee engagement and turnover

Needed resolve

Receive automatic alerts to help you manage data and tell you how to act on it

People performance analytics

What it is

Graphs and reports to show useful data about people performance and the related features

Needed resolve

Have a clear, analytical overview of all people performance statistics and understand where improvements need to be made

People engagement analytics

What it is

Graphs and reports to show useful data about people engagement and the related features

Needed resolve

Have a clear, analytical overview of all people engagement statistics and understand where improvements need to be made

Customizable app/file shortcuts for depts/offices

What it is

A list of shortcuts to useful apps/websites customizable for each team/dept

Needed resolve

Access your team/dept’s most-used apps/websites in one place

Customizable app/file shortcuts

What it is

A list of shortcuts to your favorite apps that you can customize and add to

Needed resolve

Access all your favorite apps in one place

Google Workplace

What it is

All Google’s collaboration and productivity tools available via the platform

Needed resolve

Strengthen planning, coordination and collaboration between individuals, depts and offices

Customize surveys or use pre-built templates

What it is

Reminders about things to celebrate, e.g. a birthday or work anniversary

Needed resolve

Create a sense of togetherness by showing your people you care about their achievements

Recommended talking points

What it is

A way to structure 1:1 meetings by sharing talking points beforehand

Needed resolve

Be as productive as possible in meetings by knowing what topics to discuss

Answers viewable on a question-by-question basis

What it is

A way to compare individual answers to questions all together

Needed resolve

Collect, view and analyze data simply so you can act on it in the best possible way

One-click job posting to numerous job boards

What it is

A process to post your job postings to numerous sites with just one click

Needed resolve

Post job ads automatically in various places rather than doing it manually

Customizable surveys/pre-built templates

What it is

Personalizable surveys and pre-prepared templates that you can use regularly to gain your people’s opinions

Needed resolve

Create quick surveys and use simple templates, for example to collect honest feedback on employee experience, so you don’t have to start from scratch every time

Quick praises between colleagues to foster a culture of thanksgiving

What it is

A user-friendly page open to all for everyone to praise each other regularly and publicly and share exciting company info

Needed resolve

Build an uplifting culture of thanksgiving and reinforce company values

Employee check-ins

What it is

Weekly check-ins in which managers send forms to their people with open-ended questions/ratings to see how things are going

Needed resolve

Understand how best to support your people and where improvements in employee experience are needed

Automatic customized emails to candidates

What it is

A way to compare individual answers to questions all together

Needed resolve

Collect, view and analyze data simply so you can act on it in the best possible way

Talent pools

What it is

A database in which to store shortlists of top candidates for the future

Needed resolve

Anticipate future hiring needs to fill your skills gaps and speed up recruitment

Career site

What it is

A website on which to post your open positions to an active candidate pool

Needed resolve

Attract top talent and make the candidate application process as simple as possible

Customizable evaluations (scorecads)

What it is

Forms to personalize with skills/values candidates need that you then score for each candidate using ratings/open-ended answers

Needed resolve

Focus on key skills/values required for a position and analyze them in a structured, non-biased way

Customizable funnels (pipelines)

What it is

A logical structure in which to add and insert customizable info about the various hiring stages candidates have to go through

Needed resolve

Guide potential employees through the hiring process in a structured way and communicate better throughout each stage

Tags to involve colleagues in hiring

What it is

A way to assign colleagues to tasks, collaborate well and get their input during the hiring process

Needed resolve

Keep everyone on the same page during the hiring process and collaborate successfully

Employee referrals

What it is

An internal method to find candidates through referrals from your employees

Needed resolve

Cut hiring costs, speed up the hiring process and see how much your people are engaged and believe in your company

CV parsing

What it is

A program to automatically convert info from a CV into structured info that can be stored, analyzed and manipulated by software

Needed resolve

Implement more efficient processes to save time by being able to search faster when analyzing CVs

Candidate Management System (CMS)

What it is

A system to assist with attracting, communicating with and managing applicants

Needed resolve

Raise hiring standards and keep recruitment data more organized

Company directory & org chart

What is it

A structured database accessible to all with your people’s profile pics, roles, depts and offices

Need resolve

Give your people a clear overview of your internal structure, so they can find others’ roles and locations quickly and easily