Smartphones have long been a part of our lives. Most of us cannot do without them. They are the channels through which we do so many tasks day-in-day-out: speak to friends and family, send instant text messages, take photos, and socialize online when we lonely. They’ve really become a part of the natural human live.
Aside all the helps that they offer us, too much reliance on our smartphones also has it’s effects on our lives. If you’re very close to your smartphone, you may have been in a situation when your battery is dies out in the middle of nowhere or your phone is just not close to you. How uneasy you become.
You feel like something has been taken out of yourself. If you’ve been in through a situation of this sort, you know what I’m talking about.
A research by the Universities of Würzburg and Nottingham Trent also says our smartphones have makes us less productive at work.
The experiment which was commissioned by Kaspersky Lab unearthed a correlation between productivity levels and the distance between participants and their smartphone. When their smartphone was taken away, participant performance improved by 26 per cent. The experiment tested the behaviour of 95 persons between 19 and 56 years of age in laboratories at the universities of Würzburg and Nottingham-Trent. Care was taken to balance experimental conditions and gender across laboratory sites.
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 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 an distractor when present. In other words, both the absence and presence of a smartphone could impair concentration”, says 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 demonstrated that digital devices can have a negative impact on concentration levels. It showed, for example, that typing notes into digital devices during meetings lowers the level of understanding of what is actually happening in the meeting.
While banning digital devices from the workplace is not really an option, these findings – combined with those of “Digital Amnesia at Work” – give businesses an insight on how to improve their productivity.
Kaspersky Lab has for the past two years been researching on the effects digitalization brings to our personal and social lives and how we are more vulnerable to cybercrime, all of which can be found on the company’s website.