Smartphones Make You Tired and Unproductive, Study Says
For a productive day at work tomorrow, give the smartphone a rest tonight.
Reading and sending work email on a smartphone late into the evening doesn't just make it harder to get a decent night's sleep. New research findings show it also exhausts workers by morning and leaves them disengaged by the next afternoon.
That means the way most knowledge workers do their jobs-monitoring their iPhones for notes from the boss long after the office day is done and responding to colleagues at all hours-ultimately makes them less effective, posit researchers from University of Florida, Michigan State University and University of Washington.
The scholars conducted two studies of workers' nighttime technology habits, sleep duration and quality, energy and workplace engagement. In the first study, 82 mid- to high-level managers were asked every morning how many minutes they used their smartphone after 9:00 pm the night before and how many hours they slept. Then, they were asked to rate their agreement with statements like 'I feel drained' and 'Right now, it would take a lot of effort for me to concentrate on something.'
In the afternoon, they had to assess statements about work engagement, such as 'Today while working, I forgot everything else around me.'
Prior studies have shown that staying focused and resisting distractions takes a lot of effort, so when smartphone use interferes with sleep, it takes a toll the next day.
'The benefit of smartphone use may-be offset by the inability of employees to fully recover from work activities while away from the office,' the researchers write.
After accounting for sleep quality, the researchers found that work-related smartphone use in the evening was associated with fewer hours of sleep. The subjects who recorded shorter nights also reported depleted reserves of self-control, and those who felt morning exhaustion also indicated they were less engaged during the day, a domino effect that shows how an unending workday ultimately leads to poorer work.
The second study, which involved 161 workers, measured how late-night tech use-on smartphones, laptops, tablets and TV-can disrupt sleep and next-day work engagement.
In her book, 'Sleeping With Your Smartphone,' Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow studied executives at Boston Consulting Group who were given a chance to disconnect on a regular basis. The executives became more excited about their work, felt more satisfied about their professional and personal lives and even became more collaborative and efficient.
Using any kind of electronic device affects sleep quantity and focus the following day, but smartphones are especially draining. That's partly because the always-on, always-handy phone the first device we turn to, says Christopher M. Barnes, an assistant professor of management at University of Washington's Michael G. Foster School of Business and a co-author of the paper. Having a screen so close to our faces probably doesn't help us prepare for sleep, he adds.
The researchers don't yet know if there's a particular threshold at which smartphone use begins to affect sleep habits, but even 30 minutes before bedtime can take a toll, Barnes says.
The fix, researchers say, is to put down the phone and enjoy the evening. But that's easier said than done, so long as managers send emails at 10:30 p.m. and expect responses by 10:31 pm. Barnes says real change will have to come from the top, with managers setting an example by not sending those messages in the first place, or at least toning down expectations on response time.
The paper is forthcoming in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decisions Processes.
佛罗里达大学(University of Florida)、密歇根州立大学(Michigan State University)和华盛顿大学(University of Washington)的研究人员指出，这意味着大部分脑力劳动者开展工作的方式──下班后很长时间仍在用iPhone查看老板发来的电子邮件，并随时回覆同事发来的邮件──最终会使他们的工作效率下降。
哈佛大学商学院(Harvard Business School)教授珀洛(Leslie Perlow)在她的《与智能手机共眠》(Sleeping With Your Smartphone)一书中进行了一项研究，她让波士顿咨询公司(Boston Consulting Group)的一些高管获得了一个定期断网的机会。结果是这些高管变得对工作更有激情，对他们的职业和个人生活更加满意，甚至变得更有合作精神和效率。
使用任何电子设备都会影响睡眠质量和第二天的注意力，但智能手机的影响尤其大。华盛顿大学(University of Washington)麦克·福斯特商学院(Michael G. Foster School of Business)助理教授和这份报告合着者巴恩斯(Christopher M. Barnes)说，这在一定程度上是因为这种总在开机状态、总在手边的手机是我们首选设备。他说，手机屏幕与我们的面部距离太近，这可能不利于我们的睡前准备。
这份报告将刊登在《组织行为和人类决策过程》(Organizational Behavior and Human Decisions Processes)杂志上。