In last half a decade, smartphones have changed the way we communicate, share information and have even change the social science of beings. May it be in touch with colleagues, keep on top of our inbox, and complete urgent tasks on the move – recent study writes that the smart devices are playing an active role to make oneself less productive when we are working at our desks.
The new psychological experiment by the Universities of Würzburg and Nottingham Trent and commissioned by Kaspersky Lab unearthed a correlation between productivity levels and the distance between participants and their smartphone.
The experiment highlighted that when the participants smartphone were taken away, the performance evidently improved by 26 per cent.
The experiment tested the behavior of 95 persons between 19 and 56 years of age in laboratories at the universities of Würzburg and Nottingham-Trent.
Researchers asked participants to perform a concentration test under four different circumstances: with their smartphone in their pocket, at their desk, locked in a drawer and removed from the room completely.
The results are sought to be significant – test results were lowest when the smartphone was on the desk, but with every additional layer of distance between participants and their smartphones, test performance increased. Overall, test results were 26% higher when phones were removed from the room.
Contrary to expectations, the absence of the smartphone didn’t make participants nervous. Anxiety levels were consistent across all experiments. However, in general, women were more anxious than their male counterparts, leading researchers to conclude that anxiety levels at work are not affected by smartphones (or the absence of smartphones), but can be impacted by gender.
“Previous studies have shown that on the one hand, separation from one’s smartphone has negative emotional effects, such as increased anxiety, but, on the other hand, studies have also demonstrated that one’s smartphone may act as a distractor when present. In other words, both the absence and presence of a smartphone could impair concentration”, said Jens Binder from the University of Nottingham Trent. “In summary, our findings from this study indicate that it is the absence, rather than the presence, of a smartphone that improves concentration,” adds Astrid Carolus from the University of Würzburg.
The results of the experiment correlate with the findings of an earlier survey – named “Digital Amnesia at Work.” In this survey, Kaspersky Lab is known to have demonstrated that digital devices can have a negative impact on concentration levels illustrating that typing notes into digital devices during meetings lowers the level of understanding of what is actually happening in the meeting.
“Businesses should also be aware that in today’s connected business landscape, lower concentration levels can be a security issue. Advanced targeted attacks, for example, can only be discovered if employees are alert and on the look-out for unexpected and unusual email content. It is therefore vital that businesses develop security processes, including training sessions, to increase employee alertness, whether employees are using their smartphones at work, or not, concluded Kaspersky labs veteran.”