Study: Organizational Multitasking Costs Global Businesses $450 Billion Each Year

Realization's Report Examines How the Elimination of Multitasking in 45 Large Organizations Affects Productivity

Aug 26, 2013, 09:00 ET from Realization

SAN JOSE, Calif., Aug. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Realization, the leading provider of Flow-based Planning and Execution solutions that help organizations complete projects 20 to 50 percent faster, has released a report, "The Effects of Multitasking on Organizations" which reveals that organizational multitasking, a problem that typically goes unnoticed within large companies, annually costs the global economy more than $450 billion in lost productivity.

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Job seekers around the world still tout their ability to multitask as a desirable skill, and in many organizations, multitasking is worn as a badge of honor; however, research consistently shows that people who attempt to multitask suffer a wide array of negative effects, from wasting 40 percent of their productive time switching tasks to experiencing a heightened susceptibility to distraction.

The new report from Realization examines a problem that previous researchers have paid little attention to: the effects of multitasking at the organizational level. Just as individual multitasking occurs when a person's time is split between too many tasks, organizational multitasking occurs when a group is focused on too many things and its overall capacity is adversely affected. The end results are delays and interruptions, reduced quality and rework, peaks and valleys in workflow, and lack of proper preparation before tasks and projects.

To examine the effects of organizational multitasking more rigorously, Realization, a provider of Flow-based Planning and Execution systems for engineering and projects, studied 45 organizations with between 1,000 and 50,000 employees with an average annual revenue of more than $1 billion from a diverse range of industries – including automotive, aerospace and defense, aviation, energy, semiconductors, software and pharmaceuticals – that consciously implemented measures to reduce multitasking in their organizations.

The results speak for themselves. The organizations were much more productive. The mean increase in throughput was 59.8 percent, while the median increase was 38.2 percent. In addition, organizations finished projects faster after organizational multitasking had been reduced. The mean cycle-time reduction was 35.5 percent, while the median cycle-time reduction was 31 percent.

Globally, the study estimates that the economy annually loses $450 billion in productivity due to organizational multitasking.

"Our study clearly demonstrates the massive impact that organizational multitasking is having in many different industries, and the real tragedy is that most of the organizations that suffer from it don't even realize that it's happening," said Sanjeev Gupta, CEO of Realization. "Everyone appears to be working very hard, but in fact, they are spending a lot of their time simply spinning their wheels, switching from task to task, without ever having the time to finish something before another 'urgent' item is put on their plate. Organizational multitasking can be addressed, but first, managers have to recognize the problem."

For a copy of "The Effects of Multitasking on Organizations" please visit:

About Realization
Realization is the leading provider of Flow-based Planning and Execution solutions for engineering and projects. It helps organizations complete projects 20 to 50 percent faster and 10-30 percent more efficiently by reducing multitasking and exposing true bottlenecks. Realization's more than 200 clients include organizations like ABB, Amdocs, BHP Billiton, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, L&T, Medtronic, NASA and the U.S. Air Force. Collectively Realization's clients have realized $4 billion in additional cash and profits by completing projects faster and more efficiently. Realization is headquartered in San Jose, California, with offices in India, France, Japan, and South Africa. For more information, visit


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SOURCE Realization