Monotasking or multitasking: designing for crowdworkers’ preferences

Laura Lascau, Sandy J J Gould, Anna L. Cox, Elizaveta Karmannaya, Duncan P. Brumby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Citations (Scopus)
1466 Downloads (Pure)


Crowdworkers receive no formal training for managing their tasks, time or working environment. To develop tools that support such workers, an understanding of their preferences and the constraints they are under is essential. We asked 317 experienced Amazon Mechanical Turk workers about factors that influence their task and time management. We found that a large number of the crowdworkers score highly on a measure of polychronicity; this means that they prefer to frequently switch tasks and happily accommodate regular work and non-work interruptions. While a preference for polychronicity might equip people well to deal with the structural demands of crowdworking platforms, we also know that multitasking negatively affects workers’ productivity. This puts crowdworkers’ working preferences into conflict with the desire of requesters to maximize workers’ productivity. Combining the findings of prior research with the new knowledge obtained from our participants, we enumerate practical design options that could enable workers, requesters and platform developers to make adjustments that would improve crowdworkers’ experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2019)
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-4503-5970-2
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2019) - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 May 20199 May 2019

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2019)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
City Glasgow


  • Crowdsourcing
  • Crowdwork
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • Multitasking
  • Polychronicity
  • Productivity


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