Tech distractions via smartphones at workplace restricting productivity: CareerBuilder

By Rudra Narayan Sahoo, Chicago/Mumbai: It may be true that personal technology helps workers in many ways. On the other hand, in many cases it is having negative impact on productivity. Tech distractions are emerging as a new spoiler in workplace. Distractions at workplace originating from personal lives/personal technologies such as smart phone, social media and various other apps have detrimental impact on employee productivity.

According to new CareerBuilder research in the USA on Tech distractions led by smartphone, 1 in 5 employers (19 percent) think workers are productive less than five hours a day. When looking for a culprit, more than half of employers (55 percent) say that workers’ mobile phones/texting are to blame.

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The report mentioned that in the USA, more than 8 in 10 workers (83 percent) have smartphones, and 82 percent of those with smartphones keep them within eye contact at work. And while only 10 percent of those with smartphones say it’s decreasing their productivity at work, 2 in 3 (66 percent) 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. Have an open dialogue with employees about tech distractions. Acknowledge their existence and discuss challenges/solutions to keeping productivity up.”

The CareerBuilder research revealed that when asked to name the biggest productivity killers in the workplace, employers cited cell phones/texting, followed by the Internet and workplace gossip:

Cell phone/texting: 55 percent

The Internet: 41 percent

Gossip: 39 percent

Social media: 37 percent

Co-workers dropping by: 27 percent

Smoke breaks or snack breaks: 27 percent

Email: 26 percent

Meetings: 24 percent

Noisy co-workers: 20 percent

Sitting in a cubicle: 9 percent

The national survey in the USA was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder between February 10 and March 17, 2016, and included a representative sample of 2,186 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,031 full time, U.S. workers in the private sector across industries and company sizes.

More surprisingly, majority of workers who have smartphones spend their time on non-work related sites during work. The research report found that the majority of workers with smartphones (65 percent) do not have their work emails on their smartphones. Of those who access their smartphone during work for non-work use, they spend their time on these non-work related sites during work.

Personal messaging: 65 percent

Weather: 51 percent

News: 44 percent

Games: 24 percent

Shopping: 24 percent

Traffic: 12 percent

Gossip: 7 percent

Sales: 6 percent

Adult: 4 percent

Dating: 3 percent

Work distractions via smartphones is taking heavy toll on work productivity as three in four employers (75 percent) say two or more hours a day are lost in productivity because employees are distracted. Forty-three percent say at least three hours a day are lost. Productivity killers can lead to negative consequences for the organization, including:

Compromised quality of work: 48 percent

Lower morale because other workers have to pick up the slack: 38 percent

Negative impact on boss/employee relationship: 28 percent

Missed deadlines: 27 percent

Loss in revenue: 26 percent

Negative impact on client relationships: 20 percent

More than 3 in 4 employers (76 percent) have taken at least one step to mitigate productivity killers, such as blocking certain Internet sites (32 percent) and banning personal calls/cell phone use (26 percent). Other efforts to mitigate productivity killers include:

Schedule lunch and break times: 24 percent

Monitor emails and Internet usage: 19 percent

Limit meetings: 17 percent

Allow people to telecommute: 14 percent

Have an open space layout instead of cubicles: 14 percent

Restrict use of speakerphones if not in an office: 13 percent

Increase height of cubicle walls to make it easier to concentrate: 8 percent

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