Do Smartphones Increase or Decrease Workplace Productivity?

Smartphones are deeply engrained in modern society. Technology advancements led to cheap smartphones, allowing people worldwide to own one or multiple. Smartphones have become part and parcel of peoples’ lives, and it is even impossible to leave the house without them. The growing smartphone use raises concerns about its impact on health, social life, and productivity. In this post, the author discusses how smartphones decrease workplace productivity.

Distractions

Smartphones decrease productivity by causing distractions. Possessing a smartphone at work forces one to stop working at short intervals to respond to a text or phone call. Many people cannot ignore a phone vibrating or flashing on the desk, meaning it negatively impacts concentration. Unlike old phones, smartphones relay a range of notifications, including messages, software updates, emails, social media posts or messages, and reminders. More smartphone distractions undermine employee performance.

Mental health problems

Smartphones negatively impact workplace productivity by causing depression, stress, and anxiety. According to multiple peer-reviewed research, smartphones contribute to decreased attention, headaches, and sleep disorders. Individuals suffering from the above smartphone-associated conditions are more likely to underperform than those who rarely use the devices. A stressed employee, especially a manager or supervisor, is susceptible to pass the same energy to other employees, meaning a decrease in overall workplace productivity. Smartphone use at work can cause stress and reduced job performance when someone views a demeaning post or receives an unpleasant message. For example, someone can view a post where they are insulted on social media, which would ruin their entire day at work.

Information overload

Information overload denotes too much information that the brain cannot process. Smartphones allow people to access considerable data with the click of a button. However, such information access is detrimental to a person’s brain and productivity because it can become challenging to select viable data or content to make decisions. Too much information creates confusion rather than providing solutions. Organizations that require workers to use smartphones are susceptible to decreased workplace productivity. Employees need summarized and job-specific data to execute duties efficiently and avoid time wastage in processing information.

Divided attention

Smartphones minimize workplace productivity by creating divided attention. Having a smartphone allows a person to maintain a direct conversation with someone else or follow live online discussions. For example, individuals are drawn into trending topics on Twitter and may keep refreshing the dialogue to ensure they are updated on key comments and developments. An employee working while following a Twitter trending topic on the smartphone is not as productive as those without undivided attention. Moreover, chats in social messaging apps are addictive, especially to youths, meaning that a person will try to perform job duties while chatting with friends.

Conclusion

Smartphones reduce workplace productivity. Certain companies have implemented policies to discourage smartphone use or require employees to leave digital devices at the entrance to ensure they do not interfere with job performance. Although smartphones are detrimental at work, most employees refrain from smartphone use and avoid phone distractions, allowing them to execute assignments effectively. In certain professions, smartphones are a vital component and cannot be avoided.

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