“Most people spend between one and four hours on their phones each day—and many far longer”, reveals Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping us Hooked. Shocking, isn’t it?
According to Pew Research Center, we exchange an average of 109 messages on a normal workday. Our work hours have increased to about five hours a day because of staying “always connected”, in office and after office hours. Research, has in fact, unearthed correlation between phone usage and its effects on work.
The Universities of Würzburg and Nottingham Trent, conducted a psychological experiment, commissioned by Kaspersky Lab. 95 people in the age group of 19 and 56 were asked to participate in a concentration test under four circumstances: with their smartphone in their pocket, at their desk, locked in a drawer and removed from the room completely. The test results were lowest when the smartphones were on the desk; on the contrary the participants were 26% more productive when their smartphones were completely away from them.
Researcher Eilish Duke explains why: smartphones distract us from achieving a state of flow at work– a state in which we are fully absorbed in an activity while being productive. What is worse, long-term increased distractions, lead to chemical imbalances in the brain, which results into fatigue and anxiety. People with smartphone addiction have higher levels of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) – a chemical that slows down signals in the brain. This chemical is linked to vision, motor control, and various other brain functions.
Employers, do this for your staff
Organizations do realize that smartphones are a distraction and addiction for many. Help employees stay away from smartphones, and get more done. Here are a few simple cues:
Encourage employees to take breaks between tasks. A stroll around the office, listening to music, or simply browsing through unchecked WhatsApp messages can relax the brain, plus give employees dedicated smartphone time.
Turn off alerts/notifications
Request employees to turn off notifications. It will decrease distractions for coworkers, too and bring in focus.
Create strict after office hours rules
The CEO of a tech company, Bandwidth, decided to let employees spend more quality after work hours. He prohibited employees from checking work emails after work. The result: relaxed and charged employees and a more creative and productive work environment.
Also, did you know?
It is scientifically proven that the thought of difficult tasks and challenges leads our brains to distract us and stop us from doing the task. Smartphones are our biggest comforters in such situations - an instant getaway and stress buster, keeping us away from overcoming challenging tasks.
So, how many hours do you spend on your smartphone everyday?