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Multitasking or Specialisation: Which Work Arrangement is Best for Employees?

14 April 2023

Work in the early stage of human civilisation involved simple duties that catered to the most fundamental human needs like food, child care, and housing. It is believed that the idea of "division of labour" arose when some people showed expertise in specific tasks, such as animal hunting or foraging for vegetables.

One thing that has remained constant throughout history till this present day is the organisation or arrangement that work has always required in every sphere of human life.

In today's workplace, there are two major types of work arrangement: specialised and multitasking. As a current employee or a potential one, it is important you get acquainted with these arrangement types so that you know the one that best suits your personality or the needs of your employer. In subsequent paragraphs, the two types of work arrangements, their pros and cons, will be highlighted.


What is Specialised Work Arrangement?


Work specialisation, also known as division of labour, refers to the extent to which an organisation splits specific tasks into different roles. Work specialisation makes it possible for managers to break down complex jobs into smaller, more specific tasks that individual employees can do.

Each person is explicitly instructed on how to accomplish one relatively small, individual task. This results in the employee becoming exceptionally proficient and productive at performing that work over time. This enables every employee within that organisation to have some level of expertise. Job specialisation is especially advantageous in the manufacturing industry.

Pros and Cons of Specialised Work Arrangement



This form of work arrangement is suitable for those who require a high level of focus at work, such as accountants, artists, copywriters, librarians, data entry professionals, fitness instructors, and a host of other professions. To perform these jobs well and accurately, one must be able to concentrate on one activity at a time.

Below are some of the pros and cons of specialised work arrangements:


Pros


● Workers with specialisations can accomplish more than workers without specialisations. This is due to the fact that these employees have acquired far more technical expertise through experience and education.

● Workers make much less mistakes as they grow more skilled at a particular task during the production process.

● Compared to regular workers, specialists can produce more work in fewer hours. As a result, the input costs for the businesses are reduced as these specialised individuals create more in less time.

● Defects will undoubtedly decrease if quality control is in place and a task force of specialists is used to carry out the work. The revenue of the company is being directly impacted by this.

● It increases worker's capacity to perform with little or no supervision.


Cons


● If a worker has not upgraded his or her skills to keep up with the current trend, changes in fashion and consumer preferences in the field in which they specialise could cause them to lose their jobs.

● In fields that demand intensive use of scarce resources, having specialised labour could prove problematic in the long run.

● This leads to overreliance on a few or single individual(s).

● Increased boredom that arises from having to do the same thing over and over again.

What is Multitasking Work Arrangement?


The term "multitasking work" describes a situation in which employees become knowledgeable in two or three different subject areas. A multitasking work environment is one in which workers can manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Employees using this type of work arrangement typically recognise the value of concentrating on one activity while keeping an eye on other things.

Individual learning needs and individual capacity must be balanced in order to achieve this, and workers must maintain or increase production levels in order to ensure or improve social welfare.


Pros and Cons of Multitasking Work Arrangement


In the business sector, multitasking is a highly valued skill. To a certain point, being able to juggle several things at once may be beneficial. The question of whether multitasking is beneficial in the workplace depends on the type of work you do.

Multitasking is essential for several jobs. Consider the front-end positions of nurses, customer service representatives, bank tellers, bartenders, and receptionists. They must handle numerous jobs at once in order to provide superior customer service.

Here, the ability to multitask is absolutely necessary. The following are some of the pros and cons of multitasking work arrangements:


Pros


Your ability to multitask at work can help you meet tight deadlines, save time, and be more productive. They might also emphasise how well-suited you are for work advancement and promotion. You can utilise multitasking at work to:

● Finish both tasks rapidly if you work on two things at once to increase productivity.

● Finish your work ahead of schedule, giving you extra time to do other things.

● Boost productivity, which portrays you as a dependable worker.

● Cut back on procrastinating.


Cons


● Decreases emotional intelligence (EQ), a crucial element in work effectiveness.

● Too much time is wasted on switching between different tasks.

● Affects the capacity to distinguish between important details and unimportant ones.

● It reduces the brain's effectiveness and efficiency. This leads to a 40% decrease in productivity.

● Leads to poor decision-making and excessive levels of stress.

● Reduces the quality of the work produced; multitaskers make more errors.


Conclusion


One of the essential considerations that an organisation must make is how to get things done. Some organisations choose a team structure, a specialised structure or a cross-functional structure, where employees collaborate on activities, typically sharing duties and job positions.

The most important thing to consider while choosing the best work arrangement for an employee is the nature of the job at hand and the skills and capabilities an individual possesses. For more professional advice on the best work arrangement suitable for your business or for you as an individual, you can contact us here.