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Posts tagged ‘john hollon’

Missed Single Tasking Day Due to Multi-tasking

EPSON scanner imageToday’s guest post is from our board member John Hollon, VP of Editorial at  If I hadn’t been multi-tasking yesterday, I might have posted this on time.  Read on for some advice on slowing down to get more done.

You know what I like most about February? The President’s Day holiday.

I used to like it even more when I was a kid and we used to get off for both Washington AND Lincoln’s Birthdays, but someone decided at some point that that was one holiday too many.

But, February isn’t just about President’s Day.

It has a lot of those “made up” holidays you are always reading about, like National Wear Red Day and Public Sleeping Day, which I’m sure are simply marketing hooks for some industry segment somewhere.

There is one “made up” holiday this month that does make sense, though – Single Tasking Day.

It’s officially observed this year on Feb. 24, and according to a web page for Single Tasking Day, it’s “the day to do just one thing at a time. In today’s world many multi-task, (and) many have to multi-task in order to accomplish what is needed in a day. Take this day to concentrate and complete one task at a time and don’t feel guilty about it.”

OK, I generally laugh at all the silly “made up” holidays, but this is one I can get behind because although everybody thinks they can multi-task, everyone is pretty terrible at it. In addition, it can damage your health.

I am not making this up. Back in 2014, reported on a Stanford University study  that “found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers also found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.”

To put this in layman’s terms, this explains why my order at drive-thru restaurants always seems to get screwed up. It’s because the person taking my order over the squawk box is also trying to deal with customers at the walk-in counter at the same time they’re helping me, and that means they’re juggling two tasks at the same time.

As the Stanford study points out, when that happens, something has to give — and it’s usually my lunch.

As Forbes noted, “While more research is needed to determine if multi-tasking is physically damaging the brain (versus existing brain damage that predisposes people to multi-task), it’s clear that multi-tasking has negative effects. Neuroscientist Kep Kee Loh, the study’s lead author, explained the implications: “I feel that it is important to create an awareness that the way we are interacting with the devices might be changing the way we think and these changes might be occurring at the level of brain structure.”

The article adds:If you’re prone to multitasking, this is not a habit you’ll want to indulge — it clearly slows you down and decreases the quality of your work. Even if it doesn’t cause brain damage, allowing yourself to multi-task will fuel any existing difficulties you have with concentration, organization, and attention to detail.”

This explains a lot, like why I feel so confused when I’m trying to juggle multiple tasks, and why I come close to running over so many people in parking lots who are busy doing something on their smart phone while trying to walk somewhere.

By trying to do both, they end up doing both, but very badly.

So, I advise you to embrace Single Tasking Day and know that sometimes, one of those “made up” holidays actually makes some sense. And, if you are going to take Single Tasking Day to heart, do it soon, please, before I run over you doing something on your cell phone in the mall parking lot.



How Mobile Is Your HR Technology? How Mobile Should It Be?

mobile phone userWorkforce Institute board members Sharlyn Lauby and John Hollon joined me for a discussion of how quickly mobile technology is transforming HR.  John is Vice President for Editorial at ERE Media, the go-to source for information and conferences in the human resources and recruiting industries; and Sharlyn is the HR Bartender and President of ITM Group Inc., a training company focused on developing programs to retain and engage talent in the workplace.

Increasingly, HR leaders are grappling with the proliferation of mobile devices and the need for mobile applications for their employees.  And as John notes in our conversation, Gartner has recently predicted that more than 50% of organizations will require their employees to bring their own devices to work by 2017.

According to Gartner, “BYOD drives innovation for CIOs and the business by increasing the number of mobile application users in the workforce. Rolling out applications throughout the workforce presents myriad new opportunities beyond traditional mobile email and communications. Applications such as time sheets, punch lists, site check-in/check-out, and employee self-service HR applications are just a few examples.”  

Is your organization moving in this direction?  How prepared are you for the practical (device support, security) and policy (overtime, privacy) implications of more mobile devices in your environment?  If you’d like to hear our discussion of the questions below, you can listen in on our discussion here:

  • Mobile HR has been a hot topic for several years now – what are you both seeing in terms of actual adoption? Has implementation lived up to hype?
  • What are the major challenges employers face in devising a mobile HR strategy?
  • What advice would you give to employers on getting started?
  • Tablet versus smart phone – do you think one opportunity is bigger than the other for employers?
  • What impact does the Bring Your Own Device phenomenon or BYOD have on HR? What implications does it have in terms of policy?
  • What changes do you think we’ll see over the next 3-5 years?


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John Hollon on Office Romances

office-romanceToday’s guest post is from our board member John Hollon, VP for Editorial at  Lots of people have office romances.  Do they ever come to a good end?  Read on for John’s take on the topic.

February is the month that everyone seems to focus on workplace romance, and we can all thank Valentine’s Day for that.  It’s also the month for all kinds of surveys that try to capture the latest trends concerning love on the job, and it leads to revelations like these:

These are pretty startling statistics that deserve some attention year-round, because they seem to help separate the two larger perspectives that people have about workplace romance.

  1. Perspective No. 1 – People will be people, and they spend all day around their co-workers. Of course some of them will get involved in romantic entanglements.
  2. Perspective No. 2 – Don’t fish off the company pier, and don’t date co-workers, because it usually leads to trouble on the job for all involved – and even a lot of people who aren’t involved.

I’m a big believer in Perspective No. 2, because in all my years as a manager, I have rarely, if ever, seen an office romance end up well.  In the very best of circumstances, the happy couple finds true love and goes on to live life happily ever after. Unfortunately, I have never seen that happen in 30 years as a manager.

What is more typical is that two co-workers have a hot and heavy relationship, but one (or both) brings some baggage that gets in the way – they’re still in a relationship with someone else, or one is married, or worse yet, they’re both married to other people.

Former HR executive Liz Ryan writes over at LinkedIn that, “Work is a wonderful place to meet a romantic partner, and we will all be better off when we stop freaking out over the idea that normal humans will have feelings for one another at work. As long as everyone knows that the workplace is not the spot for huggie-kissies such that other people could become uncomfortable, there shouldn’t be anything to fret over.”

Well, that’s easier said than done, because my experience is that although they sound sweet and lovely workplace romances only fuel office gossip, uncomfortable feelings from co-workers, and eventually, high drama and recriminations.

I wish everyone approached these relationships ion the adult-like way Liz Ryan describes, but just about any manager who has had to deal with the fallout from them knows that when you add love and sex into an office environment, people can get crazy and irrational.

Is that ever a good thing to inject into the workplace?

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Office romances are a bad idea. That’s because, in my experience, they go bad all too often. And spoiled office romances leave the participants — and the co-workers around them, who have to live with the bitter, sometimes litigious aftermath — much worse off as a result.”

I’m with Hank Williams Jr. on this. He sings that, “I’m all for love; I’m all for happiness.”

Well, I am too – as long as it doesn’t take place on the job.

I met my husband through work, though he was not a coworker.  Our union has lasted 28 years (so far).  I think love can teach us a lot about work, but love at work doesn’t always work out.  What’s your take on whether work romances can work?