Expert proposes ‘ban’ on smartphones at work

smartphone-at-work-3JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – A cyber security executive has proposed the enforcing of restrictions of smartphones and distractive devices at the workplace following findings these were making users less productive at work.

A psychology experiment by some universities and commissioned by a global security company has concluded smartphones lower productivity at work.

The experiment by the Universities of Würzburg and Nottingham Trent, commissioned by Kaspersky Lab, unearthed a correlation between productivity levels and the distance between participants and their smartphone.

According to researchers, when smartphones were taken away from a participant, performance improved 26 percent.

The experiment tested the behaviour of 95 persons aged between 19 and 56 in laboratories at the universities of Würzburg and Nottingham-Trent.

Researchers asked participants to perform a concentration test under four different circumstances: with their smartphone in their pocket, at their desk, locked in a drawer and removed from the room completely.

The results are significant – test results were lowest when the smartphone was on the desk, but with every additional layer of distance between participants and their smartphones, test performance increased. Overall, test results were 26 percent higher when phones were removed from the room.

Riaan Badernhorst, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab in Africa, says instead of expecting permanent access to their smartphones, employee productivity might be boosted if employees have dedicated ‘smartphone-free’ time.

“One way of doing this is to enforce ‘meeting rules’ – such as no phones, and no computers – in the normal work environment,” says Badernhorst.

“Businesses should also be aware that in today’s connected business landscape, lower concentration levels can be a security issue.”

Meanwhile, researchers commented on their findings.

“Previous studies have shown that on the one hand, separation from one’s smartphone has negative emotional effects, such as increased anxiety, but, on the other hand, studies have also demonstrated that one’s smartphone may act as an distractor when present. In other words, both the absence and presence of a smartphone could impair concentration”, says Jens Binder
from the University of Nottingham Trent.

Astrid Carolus from the University of Würzburg says in summary, findings from this study indicate that it is the absence, rather than the presence, of a smartphone that improves concentration.
CAJ News

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