Smartphones, something that many people can't imagine working without, might actually make people less productive, according to a new study by the Universities of Würzburg and Nottingham-Trent.
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The study was commissioned by the Kaspersky Lab and showed that employee performance improve 26% when they didn't have their smartphones. The experiment looked at the behavior of 95 people between the ages of 19 and 56 in laboratories at those universities.
The experiment found the correlation between smartphones and productivity levels. They focused on the distance between the 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 at the South Asia Kaspersky Lab.
The removal of smartphones didn't make the participants nervous, however. This was expected, but their levels remained consistent. Women tended to be more anxious than men did, but that is something typical in the workplace, according to the Business Standard.
“Previous studies have shown that separation from one’s smartphone has negative emotional effects such as increased anxiety, but studies have also demonstrated that one’s smartphone might act as a distractor. In other words, both the absence and presence of a smartphone could impair concentration,” said Jens Binder from the University of Nottingham-Trent. “Our findings from this study indicate that it is the absence, rather than the presence, of a smartphone that improves concentration,” says Astrid Carolus from the University of Würzburg.
The results actually back up earlier studies done by Kaspersky Lab. Those studies showed that digital devices have a negative impact on concentration levels.