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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


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