Does Mobile Computing Increase Productivity?

Access to mobile computing, to allow employees to check email outside of working hours, increases productivity up to a point. After that it just burns people out and makes them unhappy. 

 

What's the Latest Development?


Being connected 24/7 increases productivity up to a point, says new research, but then it causes stress, disrupts life and actually decreases worker output. Statistics gathered by Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow indicate that workers "who had time off [from their mobile devices] felt happier and better at their jobs than those who did not. They were also more efficient." One group Perlow studied was able to reduce their workweek from 65 to 58 hours by limiting the amount of time they spend on their devices. In the same survey, 26 percent of managers admitted sleeping next to their mobile device. 

What's the Big Idea?

Some companies have already taken note of the new data, requiring their employees to take time away from their smartphones, tablet computers and laptops. Volkswagen, for example, has programmed its servers to stop sending emails to its German employees once their shifts end. In the US, the Boston Consulting Group has begun running a 'predictable time off' experiment that requires employees to step away from their mobile devices for one evening each week. Burnout among employees is a result of not only working too much but of not knowing when they might have a break from work. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

Read it at Technology Review

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less