Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
IT

Not Using Smartphones Can Improve Productivity By 26%, Says Study (business-standard.com) 137

Smartphones do a plethora of things for us. But if you stopped using them, you might actually start seeing improvements in the work you do. From a Business-Standard report: The study, commissioned by Kaspersky Lab, showed that employees' performance improved 26 percent 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 Wurzburg 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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Not Using Smartphones Can Improve Productivity By 26%, Says Study

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @11:33AM (#52796427)

    Whenever I am directing a commercial piece, there is always some production assistant or intern NOT paying attention because they just gotta upload this snapchat! Rubbish brains the youth have.

  • person who has never owned a smart phone I can tell you: Würzburg
  • What was the % gain for those who never bought into the smartphone fad in the first place?
    • Smartphones are a fad the same way that personal computing was a fad decades ago. Especially now that you can get a commodity Android phone for under $30.

      Addiction to repetitive games or apps is a completely separate issue.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just like how those newfangled talkies were a fad too?

      You may not have a personal use for one, you may not like them, you may even have some irrational hated of them, but that doesn't make them a fad. Like it or not smart phones (or what ever form they morph into in the future) are here to stay. Having access to a massive chunk of human knowledge sitting in your pocket is a very powerful tool. It would take some serious force (cataclysm or huge social shift) to put that genie back in the bottle.

      Now, some

      • I'm sure they'd make me more productive.

        Without that pesky appointment alarm, I'd never make it to any meetings!

        • You are assuming productive things happen in meetings, this is generally the opposite in my experience. Maybe that is why people a 26% more productive, all the meetings they miss. Apart from that you don't need a smart phone to have reminder, my feature phone has a calendar feature.

    • This billionaire [pophitz.com] has no use for a cell phone (never mind a smartphone). There are other examples in that annoying one-page-per-person story. The point is that many high-power, high-profile, high-success people don't have one because they don't want one. SJP chose email over a phone, for example.

      As techies "of course" we want a smartphone. Except, with any technology, there are diminishing returns. For example, with monitors. One person just wants a big one. Many want two monitors. Then are those who

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @11:41AM (#52796527)

    I wouldn't mind if we combine

    a) Taking a way smart phones during working hours.
    b) Working hours are limited to 35 hours a week (40 hour week with an hour for lunch & breaks each day).
    c) Any employee not allowed to use a smart phone during work can't be required to use a smart phone for work outside of working hours.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Please stop mandating lunch break times. I don't want to spend an extra hour at work simply because it's illegal not to. It only takes me 10 minutes to eat lunch. A required 30 minutes is already annoying and I've gotten in trouble for 'going home early' when not taking that full time at a software job claiming to have flexible hours.

      • Personally, I'd be fine with that however I don't see how you could do 10 minutes at places that require you to leave your desk for lunch for sanitary reasons.

        Before I retired, I preferred working as a contractor (as long as the wage was comparable after paying my own benefits).

        If I worked 5 hours, I got paid for 5 hours. If I needed to work 15 hours, I got paid for 15 hours.

        And mainly, when I walked out the door they knew I wasn't being paid and it changed their attitude.

      • Oh and i'm not sure if you realize it but at some places using the restroom comes out of that "break" time. It was required because companies were horribly abusing workers in large numbers.

        I'd add the time you are using to go to the restroom to your 10 minutes.

    • That is fine, as long as work is not allowed to contact me for any reason on my phone, even informing me of an issue will mean I will start thinking about it. If I am not allowed to use company time for personal reason, the company should not be able to use my time for commercial reasons.

      Smart phones (over and above a non-smart cellphones), are mainly for entertainment purposes. Even the possibly useful features like email, and checking your bank account are time wasters, if people get a instant response th

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      So when are you moving to Europe?
      Unfortunately not everywhere a) is a fact, but as we do not have cubicles, there is a bit ;ore social control of abusers. Mind you, people who are unwilling to work will find a way. Be it reading the paper, going to the bathroom more often, chatting with others at the water cooler, start smoking or whatever.
      b) We work 38 hours. That is a bit more than allowed, but extra hours are converted to 6 extra holidays and I have 35 or so per year. In the morning and in the afternoon

    • Speak for yourself. I'm productive for about 3 hours a day. I spread this over my 8 hours shift to get paid, but ultimately 3 hours would produce the same results.
  • When you define "productivity" to exclude any benefit from doing anything on your phone, then less time spent on your phone leads to more time available for "productivity".

    The question is, why should anyone care? "Productivity" isn't the only thing that matters.

    If you want to be more productive, keep your phone but delete the Facebook app.

    • If you want to be more productive, keep your phone but delete the Slashdot app.

      FTFY.

    • I would LOVE TO uninstall Facebook from my phone! I've never had, nor wanted, a Facebook account.

      But do you think the faceless bastards at Facebook/Google/LG/AT&T/whoever infected my phone with this crap will LET me uninstall it? Hell, no! That would be too sensible and respectful of the owner's choices!

      The best I can do with this evil waste of my hardware/storage/etc is to disable it, revoke all its permissions, and stop it from updating itself. Nice one, corporate drones. You're pointlessly using my
      • But do you think the faceless bastards at Facebook/Google/LG/AT&T/whoever infected my phone with this crap will LET me uninstall it? Hell, no! That would be too sensible and respectful of the owner's choices!

        Funny...I've never had a Facebook application on any of my iPhones I've ever owned....??

        I've never had a Facebook account either....

    • This is in reference to work. If a smart phone makes you 25% less productive, you're worth 25% less to your employer, and you should be paid 25% less.
      That's why you should care.
  • they won't work if they don't have access to social apps so they can chat and post kitty pictures!! Whatever will we do our business is doomed!!
  • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @11:44AM (#52796557)

    ... that people who have smartphones are on them all the time? I have a few, but I am only on them when I'm talking or texting, and in restaurants or waiting rooms, playing games. When I'm at work, I do my work, and the phone is just there to make or receive calls related to my work.

    Similarly, when I drive, the smartphone is on driver mode, just in case I receive calls. Other than that, I don't use the phone while driving. I do use it when I'm shopping - either check out the store's app (like Costco) or check out my shopping list or prices.

    And at home, I use it to FaceTime or WhatsApp w/ family.

    • ... that people who have smartphones are on them all the time? I have a few, but I am only on them when I'm talking or texting, and in restaurants or waiting rooms, playing games. When I'm at work, I do my work, and the phone is just there to make or receive calls related to my work.

      Similarly, when I drive, the smartphone is on driver mode, just in case I receive calls. Other than that, I don't use the phone while driving. I do use it when I'm shopping - either check out the store's app (like Costco) or check out my shopping list or prices.

      And at home, I use it to FaceTime or WhatsApp w/ family.

      Let us know when your boss stops looking over your shoulder.

      • He's welcome to look all he wants. Actually, he's too busy, and sits right next to me, but regardless, it wouldn't matter. I do have my Moto X, which I use for any calls I have to make or receive. Or text. Aside from that, I don't play w/ it while I am at work.
    • by afxgrin ( 208686 )

      My biggest time waster are bored coworkers coming over to my desk to shoot the shit while I'm trying to work.

    • ... that people who have smartphones are on them all the time?

      They don't. Apparently, it isn't "all" the time, only 25% of the time that you would otherwise be working.

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @11:45AM (#52796567)
    I put my smartphone on silent and forget about during my work day. Mostly to conserve battery power as I use my smartphone on the express bus, reading The Wall Street Journal in the morning and an ebook in the evenings.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I spend more time killing spyware on my smartphone than using its smart features. It seems to me, its not built for me, its built for companies to spy on me and sell me stuff.

      In fact, let me just check, I killed OneDrive from Microsoft this morning, I bet it's running again..... yep.... com.microsoft.skydrive, I can 'Force Stop'. It's running again.

      POS software I never wanted, came installed with the phone and it f**ing turns on, starts Word up periodically, full mic access, full camera access, sends data

      • POS software I never wanted, came installed with the phone and it f**ing turns on, starts Word up periodically, full mic access, full camera access, sends data to Microsoft, another couple of hundred KB today. F**ing Samsung, I am not buying your smartphones ever again. NEVER bundle crapware, especially Microsoft crapware.

        That's Android for you.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yep, I knew Android was a problem, but I thought as long as I don't install a bunch of crap apps, I would only have Google spying on me and I've pretty much banned Google from my life. For Maps I use Here.com and here's offline app (*recommended*!), for Search DuckDuckGo not Google. For email a private email server, the Google apps are not used, the Google account it forces you to connects to, its a special one for that phone. It's not perfect, but a problem I understood.

          And then I open the shiny new phone

      • I spend more time killing spyware on my smartphone than using its smart features. It seems to me, its not built for me, its built for companies to spy on me and sell me stuff.

        Which is why I, and presumably many people, do not own one, either. They're like a swisscheese, security-wise, and I start to suspect that's on purpose, to make government and corporate exploits of it for spying and 'data collection' purposes easier. It just so happens it makes it easier for actual criminals, too. Do not want! Keep your shitty so-called 'smartphones', I'll just stick with a cheap-ass $50 throwaway dumbphone. It breaks, it gets lost or stolen, IDGAF, I'll just get another one. All it has to

      • I spend more time killing spyware on my smartphone than using its smart features. It seems to me, its not built for me, its built for companies to spy on me and sell me stuff.

        In fact, let me just check, I killed OneDrive from Microsoft this morning, I bet it's running again..... yep.... com.microsoft.skydrive, I can 'Force Stop'. It's running again.

        POS software I never wanted, came installed with the phone and it f**ing turns on, starts Word up periodically, full mic access, full camera access, sends data to Microsoft, another couple of hundred KB today. F**ing Samsung, I am not buying your smartphones ever again. NEVER bundle crapware, especially Microsoft crapware.

        What do you have - a Lumia? Android doesn't have OneDrive preinstalled - you have to go to the App Store and download it. Or does Samsung have a special deal w/ Microsoft where they preload it?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I put my smart phone on silent almost all the time. I look at the phone every once in a while and if there is a text or voicemail I then read or listen to it. I may then respond. Seems to work out just fine and everyone I deal with knows what to expect when they text or call me.

      • 100% the same. Most of the time, I come in to work and my phone goes on the charger until I leave.

        I can tell you that when there are occasions where I need to be in heavy use of my phone, I am definitely not getting as much work done.

        I am very task oriented and not very good at multitasking so the more distractions I am subjected to, the worse my efficiency.

        Of course, this probably comes as no surprise to anyone.

    • People in my country are addicted to smartphones, particularly texting over whatsapp or your im program of choice. I do this myself but i know for a fast that most people here can't. Ban is the only way to go.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe I'll focus on productivity more when my salary is based not on the time I spend at work but on what I produce. Until then, I'll happily keep getting paid for drinking coffee, pooping, and smoking.

    • That's the kind of bullshit that causes companies to implement these Orwellian surveillance and control mechanisms.

      You're right that hours on the job aren't what matter to the bottom line for the company, but in many cases it is extremely difficult or impossible to create a fair performance based compensation scheme that doesn't cause conflicts of interest. All you're doing by trying to get away with the minimum instead of just doing your job, is promoting greater levels of tracking and control to ensure t

      • by PRMan ( 959735 )

        At several companies, I've been the fastest programmer. When I leave, I always get replaced by 3-5 people. Do I get paid 3-5x as much? No.

        But the REASON I am so fast is that I actually THINK before I code. Sometimes I spend a whole day on design. Then I write really short, compact code that is easy to read and maintain and runs very fast and has few bugs.

        But do you think they appreciate the fact that "it doesn't look like I'm working" when I think? No. I'm clearly the "slacker" that needs to be tal

        • Then you work for the wrong companies (or in the wrong industry entirely). I'm also an above average performer in my skill areas and if someone followed me around tracking everything I did, it would look like I'm slacking too, but my employer doesn't do that. They leave me alone to work or use my time as I see fit with the understanding that I get the things done that I need to and that I'll be there prepared & on time when I need to be. Unless an employee consistently logs less than 40hrs, they'll on

  • by Anonymous Coward

    At least it would have been if I didn't have my smart phone.

  • It never helps when the phone is smarter than the user.

  • Work for a large software company and i'm not allowed to have my phone up to a certain point for "security reasons" yet here I am posting to slashdot.

  • WHich is to say, ... or management could piss off and stop telling the huge majority of employees who don't hang on their phone all day how to live their lives.

    If you have an employee who's goofing off or is otherwise incapable of ignoring his toys (you know, like posting rants to /. while compiling), then he needs some interaction with his supervisor. Banning everyone's access to their personal phones is just another of those "Zero-tolerance Policy" CFs that will never work.

    • by robsku ( 1381635 )

      I was starting to wonder if anyone had made this point :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @12:09PM (#52796803)

    Instead, companies could set reasonable standards for productivity and discipline those who don't meet them. It doesn't matter if an unproductive employee is unproductive because they are on their phone, or because they spend too much time at the watercooler, or because they are just pretty bad at their jobs.

    Seems like this sort of micro-management is more likely to hurt productivity than to help it. Just let your employees do their jobs, and if they can't do their jobs replace them with someone who can. (and if you can't find someone who can do the job, reset your standards to be more reasonable.)

    • Instead, companies could set reasonable standards for productivity and discipline those who don't meet them. It doesn't matter if an unproductive employee is unproductive because they are on their phone, or because they spend too much time at the watercooler, or because they are just pretty bad at their jobs.

      I think part of it is a (work) cultural problem.
      At one employer, working in a sort of repair/assembly atmosphere, my boss text messaged while I was working. In fact, he sent several text messages.

      Hours later he asked me, "Hey, I wanted to talk to you, didn't you get my text messages?"

      I told him that I usually don't check my messages while I'm working, and that I could do that if it was what he wanted.

      I didn't get the feeling he was testing me; I genuinely think he expected me to stop what I was d

  • 1) Remove colleagues

    2) Remove boss

    3) ...

    4) Profit????

    • Yes! Remove: lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, fire escapes, office chatter, chairs that recline, cat photos, plants that require watering, free will, and finally, humans in general.

      Robot slave-drones = profits!

    • Remove unnecessary meetings and teleconferences. Especially "quality" (sic) meetings that go on forever and are an end in themselves. I've been saddled with these stupid meetings. If anything needs to be changed to improve quality, it's immediately shot down because someone will actually need to admit that we're doing something wrong that needs to be corrected.

      I had one imbecile comment "I think it's unrealistic that we have 100% good solder joints on a processor, is it OK if we have 10% open connections

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @12:29PM (#52796969) Homepage Journal

    I once bummed a ride from Tallahassee to Tampa with a client, and he asked me if I minded if he took a detour to see the "Fish Man". I thought he meant a fish-monger, but then he turned his car off the highway an drove it through a gap in the chainlink fence. We went up a dirt track through the scrub pines to a glade with couple of trailers -- one of which had no sides and was outfitted as a living room. There were chicken wire pens scattered around the compound full of empty beer and paint cans.

    The "Fish Man" turned out to be fat, shambling, hairy mountain of a man. He was almost naked, and monochromatically red-brown: shoulder-length frizzy red-brown hair, sunburned skin with strawberry-blond fur, and red-brown denim cargo shorts. You almost couldn't tell where the shorts ended and his body began, except that there was no fur on the shorts and when he turned around he showed about ten inches of ass crack. It was about 10:30 in the morning and he was drinking his breakfast from a gallon screw-top bottle. From out in the forest came the sound of trees being cut down.

    We were here because the Fish Man was an artist my friend collected. The people cutting down trees were his apprentices. They'd moved thousands of miles from their city homes to live in a squatter's camp and study under him. My friend handed the Fish Man $250 and got a fish sculpture in return, which he later explained to me was a terrrific deal because that sculpture would have fetched $1000 in a gallery, easily.

    I'm not an art person, but even I could see the thing was a masterpiece; it was breathtaking. It wasn't exactly representational, you might even have called it a little cartoonish, but somehow he'd captured a sense of movement; it looked alive.

    The Fish Man invited watch him turn a curved blank from a hollow cypress into another one, a process that took only about ten minutes because he did it with a goddamn chainsaw.

    There's a lesson in this about powerful tools. They can't make you into anything you aren't already. If you're a genius, they allow you to express your genius faster. If you're undisciplined and lazy, they make you unproductive on a grander scale.

    • They can't make you into anything you aren't already. If you're a genius, they allow you to express your genius faster. If you're undisciplined and lazy, they make you unproductive on a grander scale.

      That's a great story but I disagree. I'm useless at most things but happened to be born at the right time to get a foothold on this emerging tool called the internet, and with it the greatest tool I've ever known, Google Search. By harnessing the power of Google (ie finding stuff quickly and easily - I'm surprised how many people don't know how to construct efficient search request terms or quickly scan a webpage for useful info) I've become reasonable well paid and live a relatively easy life. Had Google n

  • Who could have imagined that idiots who ABSOLUTELY MUST RESPOND TO EVERYTHING, OR LET THE WHOLE WORLD KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING THE INSTANT THEY DO IT, could have lower productivity....

    I wore a pager at one job, and was paged, heavily. (Except for the two months there when I wore two pagers.) I would NEVER TAKE ANOTHER JOB that wouldn't pay me time and a half, at least, to be on call.

    a) What do your friends pay you to be on call 24x7x365.25? Nothing? Then WHY do you have to respond *instantly*? (And if you're driving and doing this, I hope you run into a bridge abutment, and soon, before you kill someone else.)
    b) This is the same as bosses telling you to multitask. That kind of multitasking, along with you idiots on your mobile devices, is also known as "thrashing", and no, you *ain't* up to snuff.

                    mark "why, yes, I have a flip phone. Why? So people can *talk* to me...."

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @12:47PM (#52797145)

    The unproductive people probably have dull, monotonous jobs with little to hold their interest. It's no wonder their phones distract them. The same people pre-smartphone would have had all other manner of distractions, from books to puzzles to hanging out at the water cooler.

    When I'm working on an engaging task, I don't notice the time pass and have zero interest in my smart phone. If I get stuck with a dull task, it's amazing how easy it is to reach for the smartphone and how I'll even read the clickbait just for the hell of it.

    If work could be made more engaging somehow, there would be less distraction.

  • Being an old fart from the times smartphones were called Filofax, I concur.

  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @12:51PM (#52797183)

    Flashback to the 80s: Worker productivity temporarily increased when they took away copies of "PC Week" tabloids and stopped people from running "Tetris". Workers eventually found other ways to kill time.

    Flashback to the 90s: Worker productivity temporarily increased when they didn't let people access the World Wide Web and stopped people from running "Doom". Workers eventually found other ways to kill time.

    Flashback to the 00s: Worker productivity temporarily increased when they didn't let people access Napster and stopped people from running "Quake III". Workers eventually found other ways to kill time.

  • ...local internet at work goes down and you can't even make a phone call, let alone answer email or get any real work done. Then you pull out the old smartphone and start working through your cell tower connection. This has happened twice now in the last week and one of the events lasted for nearly 4 hours.
  • The next great wave of delivered workplace wisdom to be spouted by vastly overpaid flavour-of-the-month management consultants: make all employees, without exception, hand in their cellphones as they arrive in the morning. Of course, the 'important people' in the company will be exempt.

  • Removing slashdot access, OTOH, improved productivity by 1000%
  • It's all a part of keeping Millennials employed. For every 4 smart phones, there's enough lost productivity to hire another Millennial to sit around and monitor social media to find out how much fun they had doing something.

  • Loved that phone... (still have it, not on a plan at the moment) Ran it through the wash a couple times... Still works... It would work as a tethered USB modem too!

    It's Raining by the Beach

  • by xenog ( 3653043 )
    My productivity would be exactly zero if I could not log into the places I need for work using the 2FA token on my smartphone.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.

Working...