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Phone skivers cost the Welsh economy £606m

iphoneWITH apps for everything from communicating with friends to losing weight, smartphones are hard to ignore, and it seems that workers in Wales are increasingly failing to do so whilst at work. Recent research has discovered that the issue is costing the Welsh economy £606m a year in lost productivity, as millions spend time ‘skiving’ at work by checking their mobiles. The research commissioned by business communications firm, Daisy Group, found that the average worker checks their phone for text messages and social media updates eight times each working day, though four per cent admitted reaching for their smartphone as many as 30 times.

Kay Bailey, Head of UC and Mobility Products at Daisy Group, said: “Smartphones are a huge distraction to the working day as the boundaries between personal and work activities continue to blur. The more times someone checks their phone, the more opportunity there is for them to become engrossed in something not work-related. “Giving your phone a quick 30-second text or Twitter check every hour, and sending an odd message doesn’t sound much, but the result is that people are spending the entire working day preoccupied and not focussing on doing their job properly.”

The research suggests that the average worker loses eight minutes of productivity a day through checking their smartphone and sending messages. Taking the average wage of £13 per hour, and the Welsh workforce of 1.4 million, it is estimated that £1.73 of productivity is lost per employee per day, which over the space of a year mounts up to £606m. Businesses with a young workforce are particularly at risk, as the survey found that, among those aged 18-24, one in ten (11%) UK employees waste as much as 20 minutes a day, which adds up to a full day lost every single month.

The research was conducted to assess the demand among UK businesses for ‘mobile device management’. The new cloud-based technology gives organisations more control over smartphones and tablets by letting them monitor and block certain activities, and remotely track and wipe the content of any lost or stolen devices. “Smartphones have emerged over the last five years as a worker’s modern-day Swiss-army knife, helping dramatically improve an employee’s productivity whilst on the move.

However, a lack of discipline amongst workforces, even for just a short period of time, is actually having an adverse effect on the UK economy,” added Bailey. “As organisations across the UK continue to adopt bring-yourown- device strategies, it is vital that businesses implement policies and solutions, such as mobile device management, that help restrict the websites employees can and can’t visit during working hours.”