Using smart phones at night could damage productivity

In today's fast-paced business world, smart phones and other mobile devices have become invaluable productivity solutions in the workplace, allowing employees to access important information and collaborate seamlessly, even when outside of the office. 

However, a new study has suggested that smart phones may, in some circumstances, actually be damaging worker productivity, particularly when used at night.

According to a study set to appear in the research journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and first reported on by Michigan State University, employees that are using smart​ phones to work after hours may be less productive during the day as a result. 

The researchers analysed two groups of people, having them complete surveys regarding their utilisation of smart phones across a two-week period. The results showed that using a smart phone at night consistently results in poor quality sleep and reduced energy levels during the following day. 

That goes for all smart phone users, whether you are an upper-level manager like those in the first group of participants, or below the C-Suite like those in the second group.  

Study co-author and Michigan State University business scholar Russell Johnson says that smart phones – with their potential to keep users mentally engaged when they should be winding down – are "almost perfectly designed to disrupt sleep".

"There may be times in which putting off work until the next day would have disastrous consequences and using your smart​ phone is well worth the negative effects on less important tasks the next day," said Mr Johnson. 

"But on many other nights, more sleep may be your best bet."

According to the Australian Sleep Health Foundation, poor sleeping habits are an epidemic amongst modern Australians. It is estimated that 20 per cent of Australian adults suffer chronically from poor sleep, while 18 per cent admit to regularly getting less than six hours of sleep per night.

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