Survey reveals how much smartphones sap work productivity

5th July 2016

After it was reported that a US company is offering its employees $7,500 to take a tech-free holiday, we recently published an article about the benefits of unplugging when you go away. But what about the effects of using your smartphone at work?

While it’s true that technology helps workers stay connected when away from the office, in many cases it is causing them to disconnect when sitting at their desks, leading to a negative impact on productivity. According to new research from CareerBuilder, one in five employers think workers are productive less than five hours a day. More than half of employers say that workers’ mobile phones are to blame.

Conducted by Harris Poll, the survey found that more than 83 per cent of workers have smartphones, with 82 per cent of those keeping their phones within eye contact at work. While only 10 per cent of those with smartphones say it’s decreasing their productivity at work, two in six say they use it at least several times a day while working.

“While we need to be connected to devices for work, we’re also a click away from alluring distractions from our personal lives like social media and various other apps,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “The connectivity conundrum isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be managed.”

Those who access their smartphone during work spend their time on the following non-work related sites:

  • Personal messaging: 65 per cent
  • Weather: 51 per cent
  • News: 44 per cent
  • Games: 24 per cent
  • Shopping: 24 per cent
  • Traffic: 12 per cent
  • Gossip: 7 per cent
  • Sales: 6 per cent
  • Adult: 4 per cent
  • Dating: 3 per cent

Seventy-five per cent of employers say two or more hours a day are lost in productivity because employees are distracted. Forty-three per cent say at least three hours a day are lost.

Work emails aside, could you manage a full day in the office without access to your smartphone?