*This is a collaborative post.
An employee who can multitask is a wonderful thing. They can handle anything you throw at them, never dropping the proverbial ball, and always managing to get their work done on time.
An employee who is able to cope with a variety of different assignments – even those that are outside of their official job description – is an employee worth hanging onto.
Breaking The Myth Of The Multitasking Employee
The only problem is… that employee is a unicorn. Maybe there are some employees who can multitask like a pro; the occasional wonder, who is always able to do anything they turn their mind to.
However, for the most part, employees aren’t able to perform a multitude of skills without at least some drop-off in their ability.
Despite this, so many businesses ask their employees to perform a huge range of different tasks. It’s easy to see why this happens; as with most things in life, the issue is money.
As a business owner, you might love the idea of specialist consultants like Red Key Solutions for all of your tech needs; daydream of the day you can outsource your accountancy needs; think it would be wonderful to hire specialist customer service reps– but all of those things cost money. They potentially cost money that your business doesn’t have at the time.
So you turn to what you have; your existing employees. You ask them to do more and more, to go above and beyond, to try help you with an aspect of the business that is way outside of their job description.
They’re willing; you need their assistance; and the job you need doing will be completed. Where’s the harm?
The Huge Harm Of Multitasking
Firstly, let’s address the fact that your employee is willing to take on new tasks– of course they’re willing. You’re their boss; the last thing they want to do is appear to be obstinate.
So they’ll agree to implement a new VOIP system, say it won’t be a problem and give you a smile, then immediately rush to Google “what is a VOIP system and how do you install one?” No employee is going to feel comfortable to tell their boss they can’t handle something.
In truth, few employees will be happy to take on tasks outside of their existing role or knowledge. They’ll do it, begrudgingly, with an air of panic alongside the resentment.
They don’t know what they’re doing or, at least, they don’t know as much as a specialist professional in that area and, ultimately, it’s your business that will suffer for that lack of knowledge.
The Suffering Of Employee Morale
It’s not just your business that is liable to suffer from multitasking; asking too much of your employees could ultimately severely damage employee morale, even causing some to hate their job as a result.
Employees will be more stressed, panicked by your expectations of them, and in constant fear of doing something wrong. Given that employee happiness should be one of your paramount concerns as a business owner, this is not a position you’re going to want to put any of your employees in.
When all is considered, asking employees to multitask rather than outsourcing could damage your business in a variety of different ways. Don’t do it; your employees, as the overall success of your business, will thank you for your consideration.
Do you encourage your employees to multitask? If yes, let me know why in the comment section.