[Skip to content]

FM World logo
Text Size: A A A
20 February 2019
View the latest issue of FM
Sign up to Facilitate Daily >
FM World daily e-newsletter logo



Checking social media isn't always conducive to productivity © iStock

4 October 2018 | Kevin Stanley


Does tech multi-tasking negatively affect concentration, or does using multiple devices allow workers to be more flexible and efficient? It’s a fine line, shows a study by Probrand.co.uk.


According to a survey of 1,002 UK workers in full or part-time employment carried out by Probrand.co.uk, 89 per cent confess to tech multi-tasking, or consulting their smartphones, laptops and tablets during important meetings.


Whether using devices in meetings and multiscreening across devices when they should be working is affecting their concentration and productivity is questionable.


Forty-five per cent of those polled who do this kind of gadget-based multi-tasking say they find it actually helps them to be more efficient, whilst 53 per cent admit that their concentration actually suffers as a result. 


Eighty-one per cent admitted they checked devices when they were carrying out other tasks at work. Checking emails was the number one task reported and in these cases, at least, workers were focused on work-related emails.


Social media channels and instant messaging (including text messages, WhatsApp and more) followed in second and third place, according to the survey – and this is where potential problems with productivity and concentration arise – as these tasks are generally not work-related, says the report.


Matt Royle, marketing director at Probrand.co.uk, said: “The rise of multiple devices in the workplace in addition to the advent of remote cloud-based technologies means that its never been easier for workers to be switched on 24/7 – but the research shows this isnt always helpful. Some workers are being distracted by their devices during meetings, which can actually hamper productivity and focus.”


Technology has drastically improved working practices and has enabled us to make all areas of our working lives more efficient – with much of this efficiency being driven by access to multiple devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets.”


This is the workforce of the future, where a fully mobile workforce can collaborate and continue working when travelling, or outside the office. This enterprise mobile movement is set to continue and those who fully embrace the multi-device environment will enable employees to work more flexibly and efficiently.