How do smartphones affect the workplace?

Jeremy Taylor 2013.jpg

Jeremy Taylor


Business Columnist

Monday, March 25, 2019

With smartphone usage becoming more prevalent in our daily lives, approximately 68 percent of consumers between 18 and 38 years old think that it is OK for employees to use their phone during the work day, according to a U.S. Cellular survey.

Smartphones are becoming our way of life, so much so that the same survey showed 69 percent of people feel naked or anxious without their phone, and with increasing smartphone usage, it is important for wireless consumers to ask the question — is there a time and place for smartphones in the workplace?

Smartphones can be an invaluable tool in the workplace but they can sometimes be a distraction to others. At U.S. Cellular, we strive to provide people with the latest technology that can enhance lives, so it is our responsibility to encourage smartphone users to be mindful as they use their phones at work.

U.S. Cellular offers smartphone users in Rocky Mount the following benefits and tips for using your smartphone in the workplace:


■ Work flexibility — Having the ability to work from anywhere with your phone at your fingertips gives you the ability to call and communicate in real time, review documents and even Facetime into a meeting when away from the office. Additionally, with some employers offering work-from-home options, a reliable smartphone may be the most important tool you have while working from home.

■ Reachability — U.S. Cellular survey respondents reported sending 19 texts per day, and 71 percent said the expected response time after sending a message should be within minutes. Thankfully, with a smartphone always in hand, it gives employees the ability to be reachable at all times and to respond quickly.

■ Help on your bill — The importance of having your phone accessible during the workday can be vital when out of the office. With so much communication happening, even after hours, employers will sometimes cover the costs of employees using their devices for day-to-day work.


■ Avoid distraction — It can be hard to pay attention in meetings or in group settings when messages and status updates are constantly being received. Tip: Silence the phone while in meetings or while working in a group. If awaiting an important call or email, be upfront about it and apologize in advance for the possibility of needing to be excused.

■ Be mindful of co-workers — Although we use our phones less for calls than texts or entertainment, calls can still be annoying to others. This rings particularly true when the volume is high, calls are accepted at inappropriate times and conversations are had on speakerphone while in the office. Tip: Set the ringer to vibrate; take your phone calls outside or in a private room and utilize wireless headphones, such as Apple Airpods.

■ Set times for social media — It’s easy to open social media every few minutes and check what everyone is up to, but before you know it, 30 minutes in the day are long gone. This can cause productivity to decrease and make staying on tasks difficult. Tip: Save social media for your lunch hour or during breaks to avoid getting consumed throughout the day.

Jeremy Taylor is director of sales for U.S. Cellular in eastern North Carolina.