From the design of your workspace to the habits of your staff, there are many factors than can influence productivity in an office environment. With the rise of powerful handheld devices another potential pitfall has emerged – namely the hours lost to personal smartphone use.

New research conducted by has now highlighted the true severity of this issue, and it makes for somewhat troublesome reading. The research, which analysed the habits of 2,012 UK adults, revealed that the average British worker spends a staggering 120 hours per year using their smartphones in the workplace, with 84% of respondents admitting to using their phone for personal reasons during working hours.

As for what these individuals are doing during this time, 78% of respondents regularly respond to text messages at work, while 59% take personal phone calls. Others achieve similar ends via different means, communicating with friends and family via platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp (52%), or the popular video-messaging app Snapchat (9%). When it comes to social media in more general terms, 38% regularly check their online accounts during working hours.

That being said there are of course some legitimate reasons for using your personal phone whilst at work, and in line with this thinking 44% of respondents said their workplace permitted reasonable use of smartphones. However some clearly take this too far, as evidenced by the 14% who have been told off in the past for using smartphones at work; although just 4% have been formally disciplined for use of their own tech during working hours.

As you may well expect those working in marketing, followed by those in information and communications, were found to be the most likely to use their phone whilst at work, with 98% and 96% respectively admitting to doing so. The ten fields/industries most affected by personal smartphone use, as identified by the research, are as follows:
  1. Marketing (98%)
  2. Information and Communications (96%)
  3. Creative and Photographic (92%)
  4. Professional Services - e.g. Law, Accountancy (86%)
  5. Trades - e.g. Construction, Plumbing (78%)
  6. Manufacturing (74%)
  7. Retail (64%)
  8. Transportation (48%)
  9. Education (44%)
  10. Healthcare (23%)
Mark Kelly, Marketing Manager at, commented, “It’s no surprise that we are addicted to our smartphones however overuse during working hours can add up, leaving a serious shortfall in productivity. Although companies monitor and prohibit the use of social media during the working day, the research shows that there is still a large amount of people continuing to use their device.

“Use of smartphones and social media in the workplace can lead to hundreds of thousands of hours in lost productivity per year, which could cost UK companies millions of pounds.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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