Smartphones may be limiting productivity

Here's a valuable tip for managers in the finance industry who are excited by the all-the-time access to work materials offered by smartphone ownership: these mobile devices may be damaging productivity rates much more than they boost them.

A recent study conducted at Michigan State University, and reported on by NBC affiliate WILX, found that smartphone use at night may have a negative effect on workplace productivity – even if that smartphone use is directly related to an individuals career. So managers who use the phones to stay in constant contact with individuals working high-pressure wealth management jobs, or other finance positions, may want to consider affording their employees more alone-time in the future. 

Russell Johnson, assistant professor of management at the school, explained to the news outlet that the use of smartphone devices later than 9 p.m. can have a detrimental effect on workplace efficiency, for a variety of reasons. 

"The amount of time people spent using their smart phone after 9 p.m. had a detrimental effect on sleep that night, as well as it carried over and impacted how fatigued they were the following morning," Johnson told the news outlet. "You just can't detach, when it's sitting beside you on the bed stand, and you're continually getting messages and texts that really does make it difficult to disengage from work."

The study even found that the blue-light display hosted on most smartphone screens had a detrimental effect on melatonin production among those who used the devices late at night. This reduced the likelihood that the user would fall asleep at a reasonable hour, and therefore, also had a detrimental effect on their productivity at work the next day. In short, the message is clear: though smartphones may offer a direct line to the office at every moment, abusing that privilege may lead to a decrease in performance quality overall. It seems you can't excel working accounting jobs – or any other position – if you never obtain any rest.

Johnson's study was solely focused on those who used their smartphones late at night for work purposes. Those who used computers and televisions late at night saw no discernable effect on their fatigue and productivity the next day as a result. 

Smartphones don't boost in-office productivity levels either
Those who feel the use of smartphones in an office setting can help individuals multi-task may be in for a surprise as well. Another recent study, conducted by individuals from Northwestern University, IBM Research, UC Santa Cruz, found that the use of smartphones by employees who work from the same setting on a daily basis can reduce efficiency levels. The difficulty of typing and sending messages via smartphone, as well as restrictive security measures, were cited as the reason that workers would be better off sticking to their desktops.

Therefore, managers overseeing those working finance jobs may want to put a halt to those using their smartphones to engage in conversations and conference calls with their co-workers – a larger, more user-friendly computer can foster higher levels of productivity.