While their time cards might say they are putting in a full day, many employees aren’t devoting all of their time in the office to their work. Many are distracted by their mobile devices, spending hours each day texting, shopping or scrolling on social media. So, what can you do about it?
A recent survey performed by Screen Education showed that employees waste, on average, more than two hours per day using their phones. That’s more than 2 hours where work for your business isn’t getting done. And it isn’t just productivity at stake – 14% of respondents said workers distracted by mobile devices had caused workplace accidents, many of which resulted in injury or even death.
A 2017 study by Robert Half Talent Solutions and OfficeTeam uncovered just what it is staffers are doing on their phones instead of their workplace responsibilities: Most are using their mobile device to check their personal email, while an additional 28% surveyed admitted to perusing social networks. Sports or entertainment sites, mobile games and online shopping are among the other things workers admitted they use their mobile devices for on the clock.
Given people’s attachment to their phones, it’s hardly surprising that these devices are such a common source of distraction at work. “It’s understandable that employees may occasionally use their mobile devices or attend to personal tasks during business hours,” said Brandi Britton, executive director for Robert Half’s contract finance and accounting group, in a statement when the survey was released. “But these activities can easily become big distractions.”
Even if your company provides mobile devices for employee use, you might allow some personal activities on the device, such as discussing child care. Always set clear ground rules for permissible use.
Some of the methods for reducing general workplace distractions are just as applicable to getting employees off their phone. Here are a few tips to keep your staffers focused on their responsibilities instead of their mobile devices:
With easy access to texts, social media and clickbait content, it’s no surprise that personnel can waste time on their phones. While it can be tempting to simply ban employee phones in the workplace, these are just one of the many distractions employees face. Consequently, it’s important for good managers to do what they can to reduce distractions and help employees be productive to achieve their workplace goals.
Chad Brooks and Adam Uzialko contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.