Is variety the spice of working life?

12 Jan 2018
office worker looking stressed
UQ is looking for participants in a workplace survey

A team of researchers at The University of Queensland is looking for participants to explore the benefits and consequences of task variety in the workplace.

UQ School of Psychology’s Dr Stacey Parker said that in an era where burnout is becoming more and more prevalent in the workforce, the study will look at the effect a varied work role has on employees’ wellbeing and performance.

“Previous research on workplace task variety has shown mixed results,” Dr Parker said.

“Work psychology research has previously revealed that having lots of different tasks to do at work can be motivating and stimulating; however cognitive psychology research shows that switching between tasks can be draining on your attention and memory, ultimately impairing your performance.”

“In this research we use a novel sampling approach, that asks participants to record their experiences at work as they happen, which can reduce memory biases and give a more accurate picture of an employee’s working day.

“By completing several short surveys over the course of a working week, the study will provide opportunity for self-reflection, enabling participants to learn more about themselves and their work methods” she said.

Findings from the study will be used to guide both employees and managers about how best to design work roles and manage workload to reduce stress and exhaustion, and improve workforce morale and performance.

Working alongside Dr Parker is organisational psychology student Lisa Blockx who is studying at UQ as part of an internship from Ghent University in Belgium, and students Ms Alex Selene and Mr Lewis Nitschinsk.

Full time workers aged 18 years or more are invited to participate in the study which will take place over one working week.

The study consists of an initial baseline survey followed by a week of experience sampling which will involve completing short surveys twice per day for five consecutive work days.

On completion of the study participants will receive a stress-busting guide and will be entered into a draw to win one of three $100 gift cards.

If you would like to participate in this study, you can apply via this link.

Media: Dr Stacey Parker,>, +61 412 081 821, +61 7 3365 6423; UQ Communications,

If you would like to support ongoing research in this area, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the UQ School of Psychology.

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