The Universities of Würzburg and Nottingham-Trent carried out the study, which was commissioned by Kaspersky Lab. It showed that employees’ performance improved 26 percent when their smartphones were taken away.
The experiment tested the behaviour of 95 people between 19 and 56 years of age in laboratories at the universities of Würzburg and Nottingham-Trent.
Altaf Halde, managing director – South Asia at Kaspersky Lab said the experiment unearthed a correlation between productivity levels and the distance between participants and their smartphones.
“Instead of expecting permanent access to their smartphones, employee productivity might be boosted if they have dedicated ‘smartphone-free’ time. One way of doing this is to enforce rules such as no phones in the normal work environment,” he said.
Losing their smartphones generally didn’t make participants nervous, although women were more anxious than their male counterparts. This made researchers conclude that anxiety levels at workplace were not affected by smartphones (or the absence of smartphones), but can be impacted by gender.
Jens Binder from the University of Nottingham-Trent said that previous studies had shown that separation from one’s smartphone has negative emotional effects such as increased anxiety, but studies have also demonstrated that one’s smartphone might act as a distractor. In other words, both the absence and presence of a smartphone could impair concentration.
Astrid Carolus from the University of Würzburg said: “Our findings from this study indicate that it is the absence, rather than the presence, of a smartphone that improves concentration.”