Smartphones at work: a major distraction?

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Texting at work - good for business or a 21st century necessity?

The average British worker spends as many as 120 hours per year using their smartphones in the workplace, according to new research.

Research of 2,012 adults in the UK carried out by gadgets and technology etailer,, has revealed more than three quarters (84%) admit to using their smartphones during working hours.

Three quarters (78%) regularly respond to text messages during working hours, and 59% regularly take personal phone calls whilst working.

The use of smartphones for personal reasons is a sensitive subject as calls such as doctors appointments, and other life admin chores can only be made during typical working hours. However, the survey uncovered use of smartphones beyond simply calls and text messages.

52% also admitted to answering instant messages via platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook.

Almost 1 in 10 (9%) have sent a Snapchat from their workplace, showing there really is no place safe from a selfie.

However, 44% of respondents said their workplace permitted reasonable use of smartphones during working hours, with workplaces also operating a bring your own device policy which further blurs the lines.

But it seems that we can’t resist a peek at our personal profiles when working, with more than a third (38%) confessing to regularly checking their social media accounts while on the job.

Those working in marketing were the worst culprits, with almost all (98%) admitting to peeking at smartphones, followed by those working in information and communications (96%).

Almost two thirds (64%) of retail workers and three quarters of trades workers (78%) also admitted to using their personal phones during working hours.

Mark Kelly, marketing manager at, said: “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. 120 hours is the equivalent to 15 full working days, or 3 weeks of 5 working days which is quite staggering.”

A defiant 14% have been told off for using smartphones at work, while just 4% have been disciplined for use of their own tech during work time.

Unsurprisingly, those aged 18-24 were most likely to use personal tech in the workplace, followed by those aged 25-34.

Laptops Direct is the UK’s largest online laptop specialist, selling a wide range of new and refurbished laptops from leading brands, as well as a wide range of other lifestyle gadgets.

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The Top 10 Business Sectors Who Use Smartphones

1. Marketing – 98%

2. Information and communications – 96%

3. Creative and photographic – 92%

4. Professional service (law, accountancy) – 86%

5. Trades (construction, plumbing) – 78%

6. Manufacturing – 74%

7. Retail – 64%

8. Transportation – 48%

9. Education – 44%

10. Healthcare – 23%