No smartphones at work?

A joint study by the University of Nottingham Trent and the University of Würzburg has found that taking smartphones away from employees leads to an improvement in their performance by 26%.

Cut Cell Phone Usage and Increase Productivity by 26%!

While the popular line of thinking is that smartphones and mobile devices boost productivity among employees by enabling them to stay connected with each other and also make use of productivity tools, this ground-breaking study sponsored by Kaspersky Lab suggests that employers could do one better. It was expected that denying workers access to their smartphones would heighten feelings of anxiety at being separated from their constant ‘companions’ (over a third of the participants rated their smartphones thus), but the research found otherwise – in all the experiments they conducted on 95 people whose ages ranged from 19 to 56 (this was to rule out any age-related bias), they found that there was no difference in their anxiety levels between having their smartphones beside them and having to do without them.

Jens Binder with the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham Trent, says that it is the presence, not absence, of a smartphone which impairs concentration levels. This is echoed by Dr. Astrid Carolus of the University of Würzburg’s Institute of Media Psychology.

Given how people are dependent on their smartphones (men touch their smartphones every 21 seconds, while it is 57 seconds for women; making for a total average of 44 seconds across both genders), Kaspersky Lab’s Managing Director for South Asia Altaf Halde suggests ‘smartphone-free’ hours at the workplace to take baby steps in ramping up productivity. A previous Kaspersky Lab survey, titled ‘Digital Amnesia at Work’ had found earlier that when people type in notes into their mobile devices during a meeting, it significantly reduced their understanding of what was actually taking place.

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