We check our mobile devices about 85 times a day according to new research from Nottingham Trent University. Assuming the average person sleeps for 8hrs a night, this means we are checking our phones over 5 times an hour, every hour that we are awake!
While some may argue that the ability for employees to access company data and resources without being tied to a single location can boost business productivity, others ask the question…'are we too connected?'
The ‘Always-On’ approach means you can usually connect with a colleague via multiple channels, on multiple devices, in multiple locations, at all times of the day or night. While this can have benefits such as increased efficiency e.g. ability to work while travelling between meetings, this type of multi-tasking can also be counter-productive.
High concentration leads to greater productivity, and regularly switching between tasks can lead to difficultly focusing on a specific project. The constant notifications from mobile devices alone can interrupt concentration and the time taken to refocus on the task at hand can be detrimental, especially if the notification was regarding Friday night’s dinner date with friends instead of that really important client meeting you need to prepare for on Monday morning.
While many businesses can block access to personal emails and social networking sites via company desktops, it’s very difficult to enforce the same controls on employees own devices. However, with the help of Mobile Device Management technologies such as Airwatch, you can define a virtual boundary around a specific physical area e.g. your office, and apply restrictions to that area e.g. social media apps disabled on any Airwatch enrolled device in that area during business hours.
Mobile devices have also changed the way we access information outside of the workplace, including things like news and entertainment. Many of us use our mobile devices right up until the moment we fall asleep, despite significant evidence demonstrating the harmful effects on sleep schedules. If we don’t sleep well, it negatively impacts our energy levels the following day and consequently decreases our productivity at work. The advice here would be to encourage yourself and your employees to abandon mobile devices whether for work or play, at least 2hrs before bedtime.
Ultimately, every business wants to deliver the high level of service and support their clients have come to expect from them. In order for your business to do this, it could mean monitoring mobile device use in the workplace to ensure they are helping to facilitate work rather than detract from it, or eliminating mobile device distractions in the workplace altogether, or just training yourself to refrain from checking your emails just one last time before bed.