Mobile Devices May Hurt Employee Productivity: Survey Says

Are Mobile Devices Killing Employee Productivity?

Do mobile devices make your employees more productive or give them an excuse to goof off all day? Would a glass of wine at lunch make them happier? And is FarmVille just an annoying Facebook popup or a brilliant marketing tool? Here's a closer look at some of the latest small-business surveys.

Mobile Madness

Do you really know what your employees are doing with their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices at work? A Harris Interactive survey, commissioned by video support provider Qumu, polled 2,500 Americans about what they think people are doing on their mobile devices at work that they wouldn't do on their work computers. The suspected activities included:

  • Looking for another job: 52 percent
  • Visiting an online dating website: 47 percent
  • Researching an STD: 37 percent
  • Shopping for lingerie: 33 percent
  • Investigating plastic surgery: 20 percent

The survey also uncovered the top ways people assume their coworkers are sneaking peeks at their mobile devices at work, including:

  • Hiding their mobile devices under the table: 47 percent
  • Going to the restroom (or pretending to): 42 percent
  • Hiding their mobile devices in their folders, notebooks or papers: 35 percent
  • Pretending to tie their shoes: 9 percent
  • Creating a distraction: 8 percent

And 64 percent actually admit to "watching online videos," which I'm assuming are not all from the Disney Channel.

La Dolce Vita

American workers are twice as likely as their Italian counterparts to say they're "very stressed," according to a survey by Italian beer company Birra Moretti. Maybe that's because, as the study found, fewer than 20 percent of us actually use our full lunch hour, while 100 percent of Italians do so.

Not only are Italians eating their lunch, they're truly enjoying it. Nearly half (48 percent) of Italians were "inclined" to order alcoholic beverages at lunch. In contrast, just 20 percent of Americans were similarly "inclined." Wanna bet they're also the ones who take their full lunch hour?

Game On

Some 250 million Americans play "casual" or "social games" like FarmVille and Mafia Wars. But 84 percent of U.S. marketers have no plans to take advantage of these games' marketing potential in the next year, according to a new survey by Forrester Research. The casual gaming audience is an attractive market for businesses -- 59 percent of adult social gamers are women and 30 percent are Gen X.

How can your small business take advantage of this ripe audience? Don't worry about developing your own game -- instead, jump on the bandwagon of the existing ones with a big fan base. You might try offering currency in the games as a prize for contests or a reward when customers take actions such as liking you on Facebook or signing up for a newsletter.

Admit it, you know how addictive these games can be. You might as well profit while you're playing -- er, doing your "research."

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit her blog at Visit her website SmallBizTrendCast to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva's free TrendCast reports.

Popular in the Community