Can smartphones have a detrimental effect on work-life balance?

A large number of employees are using smartphones. research has shown that it can blur the line between work and home life further, a mobile phone insurer has detailed the positives and negatives for using your phone as well as how to strike the right balance.

This research was carried out by Loveitcoverit, a mobile phone insurer, and found that 80 per cent of employees use their mobiles in relation to work, with over a quarter (26 per cent) using their devices to check emails.

  • The mobile phone insurer stated the negatives of using mobile phones as a work tool are:
A constant distraction

“It is important to not take advantage of your employer’s trust by frequently using it for social use. However, this has been found to be a difficult temptation to resist. In fact, a study conducted by researchers from Hokkaido University discovered that the mere presence of a smartphone can have a severe impact on our cognitive performance.”

Worl-life balance can take a hit

The company explained that as your mobile gives you access to your emails or maybe even work calls after work hours it can have a detrimental effect on your home life.

Creates pressure to communicate outside work

“Indisputably, having access to the communication means at all times is advantageous at times, however, it can also cause individuals to feel as though they must respond. So rather than enjoy their downtime outside of working hours, they feel obliged to continue any ongoing communications.”

  • The advantages of a mobile phone are:
It allows you to pass on important messages

“Devices allow us to connect with others no matter the situation – so whether you’re in bed, on the train, or perhaps even at the gym, you can efficiently use your time to make progress with your professional communications.”

It assists with remote working

“Advancements within smartphone technology have made it so individuals may access, and work on, documents away from their desktop – which can be of particular use if your job requires frequent mobility. Having a device that can run applications such as Word, Excel or Powerpoint means that you can make progress as and when you need to outside the office.”

Can measure how you spend your day

“Features such as screentime and activity tracking applications allow individuals to autonomously assess how they are spending time on their smartphone. As a result, they can tangibly measure the time allocated to work-based activities.”

  • The tips are given to attaining the right balance:
Constant connectivity does not equate to increased productivity

“It is vital the employers encourage healthy measures that allow staff to disconnect from work outside of working hours. A simple way of doing so is by sending a short email to any ongoing communication chains that directly address any period of absence. By informing those involved, the individual will not feel as though they must make progress with any projects whilst on their own time.”

Employers can structure an in-office smartphone policy that regulates their use

“This doesn’t mean that managerial staff should enforce an absolute ban on smartphones, as that would likely do more harm than good, but some guidelines for employees to refer to can address any particularly noteworthy issues.”

Create an open dialogue to discuss these matters

“This might seem like a difficult task, but by establishing a trusted and open dialogue between employer and employee, a company may identify solutions that it may not have otherwise. Both parties can offer their own unique insight based on their working experience and therefore see a collective benefit.”