Time to switch off? Smartphones in the office – You decide

Written by CMI Insights Tuesday 09 April 2024
Could managing smartphone use at work boost productivity, focus and wellbeing? Here’s why trust and transparency are essential for navigating a world riddled with distractions…
Group of people on their phones

Do you often struggle to focus on the task at hand? And do you then find yourself shifting between tasks on your to-do list? Chances are, you might have a case of “popcorn brain” – and you wouldn’t be the only one. 

The average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8.25 seconds in the past two decades

First coined in 2011 by David Levy, “popcorn brain” describes the negative impact that excessive scrolling on social media can have on the attention span. Recent research estimates that the average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8.25 seconds in the past two decades, with our increased dependence on technology being a trigger. 

“The anxious generation”

 An important new book from social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness, suggests how increased smartphone usage is responsible for the state of declining mental health among adolescents. Many schools are implementing new guidelines in a bid to help protect their students’ wellbeing and minimise distractions in the classroom. 

It’s not just an issue among young people. More and more public spaces are also choosing to limit smartphone usage. Even restaurants are introducing policies to keep people away from their screens while dining – one offers discounted meals for people who leave their phone at the door. 

In light of growing concerns around distraction, mental health and wellbeing, how aware should managers be of their team’s smartphone habits? And how should this issue be addressed in the office?

Keep reading to discover what the CMI community thinks about smartphones in the office – and why transparency is key


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