UK businesses lose 5 days’ work per year on employees scrolling their phones – here’s how to avoid temptation whilst remote working

What Mobile
April 22, 2020

77% of UK workers admit to using their phone during working hours

4Com advises workers on how to stay productive while working from home

UK workers are spending 2 hours 20 minutes browsing their phone during working hours each week, amounting to six and a half months over a lifetime, new research reveals.

The research conducted by a business telecommunications provider, 4Com, also helps advise UK workers on how to keep motivated while working from home and remove the temptation to pick up their phones while on company time.

Having analysed the data, 4Com found that nearly eight in ten (77%) workers have admitted to using their phones when they’re supposed to be working, and on average they spend 28 minutes each day browsing their devices during working hours. Over time, this equates to:

  • Per week: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Per month: 9 hours 18 minutes
  • Per year: 112 hours (4.6 days)
  • Per working lifetime of 44 years: 29 weeks

Shockingly, the research shows that UK businesses are losing out on almost a week’s worth of work per year due to employees spending time on their phones, or six and a half months over a working lifetime.

Further research reveals that having a personal phone to hand at work has a 48% negative impact on employees’ quality of work. With many now working from home for the foreseeable, personal phones are likely to be on hand to cause distractions, and without face-to-face interaction in the office, this could spell trouble for productivity.

So, what can the nation do to help maintain motivation and prevent themselves from scrolling social feeds at their desks? Mark Pearcy, Head of Marketing at 4Com, offers five top tips below:

Hide your phone, but keep the volume up

Mobile phones are an essential part of work for many people, but you can avoid the temptation of using it for non-work purposes by leaving it out of sight, but keeping the volume up so you can be aware of any emails, messages or calls that come through and need a response. You can interact with your phone when on a break, as it’s never been more important to keep in touch with loved ones, but having your phone physically away from your workstation prevents you from browsing and interacting with it while you’re supposed to be working.

Make lunch breaks mandatory

When working from home, you may not take your full lunch break as you would when in the office in a normal routine. However, lunch breaks are the perfect time to browse your phone, keep up to date with social media or ring a friend or family member, so it’s important to take that time away from your desk every day. Using this hour away from work will help you feel happier and less inclined to browse your phone during working hours.

Communicate with colleagues

Send your team regular updates including what you’re currently working on or if you need help with a certain task. Also encourage chats and conversations via email or the likes of Google Hangouts. Not only will this prevent you from browsing your phone, but it is also a great way of boosting happiness and communication among your team – especially needed at this time. 

Download scheduling apps

Downloading scheduling apps, such as Google Keep or Todoist, is another great way of minimising distractions and boosting your motivation. These apps allow you to clearly see the tasks you have to do and the time in which they need to be done, which will help keep you on track. 

Try video calls

If you have weekly calls with your colleagues from home, it may be tempting to lose focus and spend your time browsing your phone whilst someone else is speaking, but if you encourage video calling, this eliminates the problem. After all, you won’t want to be seen looking at your phone while on a video call, will you? Plus, this will help you be more present in the meeting too.

Summarising the findings, Mark continues: “Our research shows that UK businesses are losing out on five working days per year due to employees browsing their devices. It is therefore important that workers try to eliminate distractions as much as possible, not only to boost productivity but to prevent wasting company time too. Hopefully, our tips will help workers stay focused during this time to retain a positive work-life balance.”

For more information on 4Com’s research go to

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