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    Outsourcing | 3 min read

    The Myth of Multitasking—and Its Impact on Financial Institutions

    We are a society of multitaskers armed with smartphone technology. We pay bills from our phones on our lunch break, text while doing just about everything, and respond to emails in the middle of meetings. Digital technology has given rise to a “there’s an app for that” mentality that makes multi-tasking ubiquitous across nearly every aspect of our daily lives.

    But is all this phone-checking and multitasking really achieving the presumed goal of increasing our productivity? Turns out—probably not.

    Numerous recent research studies indicate that our constant use of smartphones, apps, and other digital technology may negatively impact our cognitive abilities, particularly when it comes to our attention spans.

    According to PsychologyToday, "A recent brain imaging study showed that heavy multitaskers have less gray matter in the area of the brain that controls executive function than people who use digital media less frequently.”

    Why does this matter to your financial institution? The digital tools, applications, and software systems your employees use every day are supposed to help increase efficiency and improve time management. Unfortunately, constantly navigating between so many screens and programs can overwhelm employees, and, ironically, lead to more inefficiencies.

    Before you add yet another vendor or system to your employees’ digital workstations, I’d like to share some of the top reasons why multitasking may actually be more harmful than helpful for your employees.

    Reason #1: Multitasking Actually Slows Work Down

    According to research cited in Forbes, “Most workers toggle between apps 10 times an hour, which equates to up to 32 days lost in workplace productivity.”

    Although we may think having all the tools we need available on one computer makes it easier to do our jobs, it turns out toggling back and forth between windows can actually make those same tasks take even longer, which ultimately slows down the pace of operations.

    Reason #2: Multitasking Leads to More Errors

    According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Studies show that when our brain is constantly switching gears to bounce back and forth between tasks—especially when those tasks are complex and require our active attention—we become less efficient and more likely to make a mistake.”

    Multitaskers have been shown to make up to 50% more errors. If your employees are constantly engaging in multiple tasks or navigating between screens to get to the correct platform, they’re more likely to make errors due to inattention.

    Reason #3: Digital Multitasking Is Directly Tied to Absentmindedness

    Research in Psychology Today examined the relationship between smartphone use (multitasking) and absentmindedness: “Study results showed that people who use smartphones frequently were much more likely to use their phones in an absent-minded fashion…Absent-minded smartphone use seemed especially likely to lead to attention problems in everyday life. This includes spontaneous mind-wandering and various errors linked to not paying attention.”

    Because financial services positions require a reliable memory and ability to focus, employees who are constantly multitasking by navigating between vendor platforms may find themselves at a cognitive disadvantage compared to their more focused co-workers.

    Reason #4: Multitasking Makes Completing Tasks More Complicated

    Did you know that two in three workers (66%) just want a single platform for all of their communications? Employees enjoy clutter-free digital workspaces because navigating them is less stressful than having to toggle between a dozen different windows to access tools from a dozen different vendors.

    The SWBC Total Solution for risk management, payments, and income generation solves many vendor management challenges, including having just one company to contact and provide feedback on products, request support, or speak directly with our senior leadership.

    Your vendor management team will thank you for selecting one partner to provide essential products and services and reduce the burden of tracking multiple vendors!

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    John DeLuccia

    As Account Vice President for SWBC’s Financial Institution Group, John DeLuccia services Florida and Virginia financial institutions within lending services, insurance, and loss mitigation programs. Before joining SWBC in 2007, John worked with the Federal Reserve Bank as a Member Relationship Manager for Southeast Corporate Federal Credit Union, serving clients across South Florida, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

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