Essex-based insurance company loveit coverit have conducted a survey of over 300 workers, examining their use of smartphones at work and their overall work-life balance.

  • 4/5 professionals use their smartphone to aid their work
  • Less than half of workers feel that they have a healthy work/life
    balance
  • 76% of people identify their smartphone as an ‘important’ element of
    their work

Smartphones
are increasingly versatile, often taking on many of the qualities and features
that our computers offer us. Not to mention the innovations we see
year-on-year. Mobile phones are quickly becoming more integrated with our
professional lives – exceeding the singular use of a communication device.
However, with this integration and innovation, we’re seeing an increase in how
important smartphones are to our working lives. So the question has to be
asked: how do we separate the two, and how much do smartphones impact on our
‘work-life’ balance.

The survey
revealed that 80% of individuals use
their phone in relation to work, whether this is on occasion or with notable
frequency. But, of course, the explicit benefits of utilising our smartphones
in this capacity are numerous; ever-evolving devices allow us to access and
edit work documents from a remote location, communicate with our professional
contacts without restriction and additionally provide us with an amendable digital
calendar. But what keeps working individuals glued to their smartphone?

The research
looked to identify the most prominent functions that prompted individuals to
utilise their smartphone for professional purposes. The research found: 33.22% of respondents did so for text
messages, 26% frequently accessed
their emails, and 25% used their
device primarily for calls – demonstrating a stark correlation between
communication and professionalism. Somewhat surprisingly, only 4% of respondents most used their device
for booking appointments or other such organisational tools – in fact, more
individuals claimed that access to social media platforms was of more
importance than this. This might indicate that the use of smartphones in the
workplace is more vital in day-to-day tasks for those in a tertiary occupation,
and less so for those in more manual or traditional sectors.

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But our
digital preferences are not contained to our contracted working hours alone,
indeed ¾ of individuals admitted to
checking their smartphone for work purposes whilst enjoying their free time –
demonstrating the temptation to blur the professional with the personal.

The Positives

Evidently,
many individuals find their smartphones to be a notably useful tool when it
comes to their occupation. In fact, utilising a mobile device can enhance your
productivity by providing:

Further communication opportunities

With over 80% of respondents highlighting the
benefit of communication features, this has undoubtedly become a prominent
advantage of professional smartphone use. Our 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.

Alternatively,
the enhanced communication options of a smartphone ensure that if something of
great urgency were to occur, you would be able to reach those involved to help
find a solution.

Remote working capability

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.

Activity/Screen Time tracking features

Features such
as screen time 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.

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However, our
data demonstrated that perhaps this tracking functionality is not yet fully
appreciated as 52% of respondents
are not using it – whether this is down to a lack of desire or lack of
knowledge is unclear. Furthermore, of those who do use a tracking application, 21.2% identified that they were not
deterred from working outside of contracted hours.

The Negatives

Although having remote access to our working documents, professional
contacts and daily calendar can be of benefit to us, it’s important to
recognise the corresponding risks and concerns. When opting to use your phone
in this capacity, it’s vital to ensure:

Striking the Right Balance

There are a number
of actions that both employees and employers can take in order to create a more
balanced and sustainable working environment.

Recognise that constant connectivity does not
equate to increased productivity

What is
becoming evident to many employers is that although their employees are
constantly connected, their productivity might not be enhanced. Therefore, 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. Not only does this allow them to take a well-deserved
break, but it also ensures that they return to work with a fresh outlook.

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

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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.

Should these
measures fail, it is equally as important to consider purchasing a separate
phone that is solely used for professional purposes. This means that when
you’re having downtime on the weekends, or weekday evenings, you can put that
device to one side and not be worried by any incoming notifications.

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.

This will
hopefully increase job satisfaction and productivity.


About loveit coverit:

Authorised and regulated by the Financial
Conduct Authority, loveit coverit is a trading name of Pier Insurance Managed
Services. Providing mobile phone and gadget insurance for almost 30 years, the
company has insured over 900,000 devices to-date and all claims are handled by
their UK based, in-house team.



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