Owning A Smartphone May Pressure Workers Into Putting In More Hours


A whopping one-third of American adults (35 per cent) own smartphones. In fact, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, nearly half (42 per cent) of cell phone owners have a smartphone. Here’s a summary of what these smartphone owners do with their phones:

  • 87 per cent of use the Internet or email
  • 68 per cent use their phone to go online on a typical day
  • 25 per cent go online mostly using their smartphone

If you had to guess, how many of these phones would you say are used throughout the week for work purposes (even if they aren’t issued through the company)? I’d say it’s probably close to 100 per cent. 

As with anything, there are pros and cons when it comes to owning a smartphone. You might be wondering: How does it affect your employees?

Decrease in productivity. It’s easy to waste time on a smartphone surfing the Internet or responding to texts and emails from friends. And the easy accessibility to these distractions could take its toll on their ability to get work done or actively listen during meeting.

Increase in productivity. A smartphone can also help your employees stay productive and on top of work-related things. If they’ve connected their work email to their smartphone, they may be more apt to reply quickly to important emails. However, this certainly depends on the employee and their level of connectedness – especially on weeknights or weekends.  

Blurred lines between work and life. It can be difficult to unplug from a smartphone. In fact, a large majority of folks actually sleep with their cell phone. According to a report from iPass, 61 per cent of people keep their phone in the bedroom at night and 41 per cent have it within arm’s reach of where they sleep.

By having work at their fingertips at all hours, tour employees might feel pressure to instantly respond to emails or start working on tasks in their off hours. As much as it can be helpful, it might also cause your workers to work longer hours and carry more stress. 

How does owning a smartphone affect your life and career? If your phone is connected to work, do you find yourself working longer hours or taking calls off the clock?