Smartphones Weaken Focus and Productivity

Friday, April 4, 2014, 11:20 AM

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Have you noticed you or your employees’ productivity and focus go down? Studies have shown that their smartphones may be to blame.

Researchers at the University of Florida, Michigan State University, and the University of Washington suggest that being connected to your smartphone late at night decreases productivity the next day at work. The benefits of smartphones at night are offset by the lack of focus the next day at work. Staying up late to send a late night e-mail will make you less engaged the next day.

In order to ensure your co-workers will be productive every day, it’s important to establish a line between work hours and personal hours. If you’re sending a late-night e-mail to other employees, you’ll be sure to get replies just a few minutes later. If it can wait until the next day, you’ll be doing everyone a favor by simply waiting to send that e-mail.

One other way employees’ smartphones are decreasing their productivity is by encouraging multitasking at work. When an employee’s attention is bouncing back and forth between smartphone and computer screen, they are not focusing entirely on the task at hand and their brain is trying to take in information from several sources. This is not just a short-term problem; it also affects the ability to focus in the long-run.

To increase productivity and focus in your workplace, set boundaries about when you will use your smartphone and avoid distracting other employees by sending e-mails after work. Also, avoid multi-tasking with your smartphone and focus on one task at a time.


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