Not using smartphones can improve productivity by 26%, says study | Business Standard News
Smartphones might be helping employees keep in touch with colleagues and do urgent tasks on the move, but using these devices at workplace actually make people less productive, says a new study by the Universities of Würzburg and Nottingham-Trent.
The study, commissioned by Kaspersky Lab, showed that employees’ performance improved 26 per cent when their smartphones were taken away. The experiment tested the behaviour of 95 persons between 19 and 56 years of age in laboratories at the universities of Würzburg and Nottingham-Trent.
The experiment unearthed a correlation between productivity levels and the distance between participants and their smartphones. “Instead of expecting permanent access to their smartphones, employee productivity might be boosted if they have dedicated ‘smartphone-free’ time. One way of doing this is to enforce rules such as no phones in the normal work environment,” says Altaf Halde, managing director – South Asia at Kaspersky Lab.
Contrary to expectations, the absence of smartphones didn’t make participants nervous. Anxiety levels were consistent across all experiments. However, in general, women were more anxious than their male counterparts, leading researchers to conclude that anxiety levels at workplace are not affected by smartphones (or the absence of smartphones), but can be impacted by gender.
“Previous studies have shown that separation from one’s smartphone has negative emotional effects such as increased anxiety, but studies have also demonstrated that one’s smartphone might act as a distractor. In other words, both the absence and presence of a smartphone could impair concentration,” said Jens Binder from the University of Nottingham-Trent.
“Our findings from this study indicate that it is the absence, rather than the presence, of a smartphone that improves concentration,” says Astrid Carolus from the University of Würzburg.
The results of the experiment correlate with the findings of an earlier survey named ‘Digital Amnesia at Work’. In this survey, Kaspersky Lab demonstrated that digital devices can have a negative impact on concentration levels. It showed, for example, that typing notes into digital devices during meetings lowers the level of understanding of what is actually happening in the meeting.