Smartphones not productive, managers say

Most workers don’t have corporate email set up on their mobile devices. The bosses are peeved by that and other perceived, at-work smartphone transgressions.

Smartphones not productive, managers say

Despite the hype of business chat messaging and a perception of smartphones introducing a connected work-everywhere lifestyle, a surprisingly large number of bosses are not at all happy with the proliferation of the devices.

The honchos say mobile devices are killing productivity, according to employment firm CareerBuilder research. The problem appears to stem from the fact that employees are indeed using smartphones at work—just not for work.

That the majority of workers with smartphones (65 percent) don’t have work email setup on the devices is one issue, the CareerBuilder study found.

The resume distribution company performed its survey of human resource managers and employees along with Harris Poll earlier this year.

Distractions kill productivity

Seventy-five percent of corporate employment chieftains say “two or more hours a day are lost in productivity because employees are distracted.” And those distractions include non-work personal messaging by employees who bring a smartphone to the workplace but don’t have work communications on their device.

Although employees are able to take work-related tools, such as email and cloud documents everywhere, including home on the weekend, workplace productivity has declined, the bosses believe. They think workers are slacking partly because of excess connectivity.

+ Also on Network World: How to avoid workplace distractions +

“While technology helps workers stay connected while away from the office, in many cases it is causing them to disconnect while in the office,” CareerBuilder says in a press release.

Personal messaging makes up the biggest share (65 percent) of non-work related activities on smartphones during worktime, the study found.  

Weather, news and game websites are also prevalent during office hours, as are dating, adult and shopping sites. Gossip sites make up 7 percent, and traffic sites 12 percent.

Over half of employers (55 percent) blame mobile phones and texting for the supposed productivity slump. That number beats out traditional office gossip, which did surface with 39 percent of the managers blaming idle chatter as the biggest productivity zapper.

Forty-one percent said the internet was the chief culprit, and 26 percent blamed email.

“Sitting in a cubicle,” presumably doing nothing other than sitting in the cubicle, was blamed by only 9 percent of the managers as the principal cause of unproductivity.

But it was the evil smartphone that really annoyed the managers. They particularly didn’t like it that most with the dastardly devices keep them within eye contact. Eighty-two percent maintain eye contact with their smartphones at work.

What do the workers think? Their perception was different. “Only 10 percent of those with smartphones say it’s decreasing their productivity at work,” according to the research.

The strangest things employees have done on work time

Amusingly, interviewer Harris Poll also asked employers to recount the strangest or “most memorable things they have caught an employee doing” when the bosses thought the minions should have been working:

Watching YouTube videos of people stuffing marshmallows down their throats, was one recollection.

However, memories recounted by the bosses weren’t all smartphone-related, proving you don’t need a smartphone to be unproductive:

One worker was remembered for performing doughnut-style automobile maneuvers in the company parking lot in deep snow, and another for cubicle decorating-expertise using chains of paperclips.

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