Smartphones: more hindrance than help?

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When workers try to get more done on their smartphones at night, they’re more likely to be less productive the following day. It’s a risk a Michigan State University scholar has identified from a study surveying hundreds of workers both at management levels and below.

Colleagues who monitored their phones for business purposes after 9pm were consistently exhausted and less engaged at work the next day. Smartphones had a more intensely negative effect than televisions, laptops, and tablets when it came to disrupting sleep.

“There may be times in which putting off work until the next day would have disastrous consequences and using your smartphone is well worth the negative effects on less important tasks the next day,” he said. “But on many other nights, more sleep may be your best bet.”

And if you think your company won’t be affected by this modern-day phenomenon of bringing work home, the statistics show otherwise.

“While adoption still varies across companies, trending data shows the entire bell curve moving upward, with 12% of companies reporting an 80-100% mobilization,” said Brian Reed, chief product officer at BoxTone, which surveyed enterprises for mobile use. “Clearly, there is a maturation of mobile deployment in the workplace, where it’s moved from the pilot stage to crossing the threshold into more mainstream adoption.
The 2013 survey found that:
  • 17% of companies said less than one fifth of their workforce would have mobile devices for work by the end of the year
  • 25% of companies said 20-40% of their workforce would be mobile connected by the end of the year
  • 22% of companies said 40-60% of their workforce would be mobile connected by the end of the year
  • 23% of companies said 60-80% of their workforce would be mobile connected by the end of the year
  • 12% of companies said more than 80% of their workforce would be mobile connected by the end of the year
  • Gail on 2014-02-18 8:05:55 AM

    I watch my working friends at social gatherings being drawn into work related communications. Most of the time it creates stress and need to get to the issue immediately. I leaveine at home or torn it off. I value my time.

  • Sue on 2014-02-21 2:01:31 PM

    I have seen a few people keep work cell phone and personal cell phones separate. Turning off the work phone after hours, might help disconnect on your down time. It all depends on the job I suppose.

  • Raphael Pascalis Claudius Lotinggi on 2014-02-24 10:13:32 AM

    This is an area where HR can help find a win-win solution in the use of smartphones. Tired workers will surely be less productive. This will also affect their health and results in higher medical expenses.

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