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Reports Claim Smartphones make us Less Productive

Constantly attending to email out of office hours doesn't make us more productive, it just sucks up our free time, according to a book published this week.

In compiling The Activity Illusion, author Ian Price collated data from over 500 workers on the experience of managing work email, both with and without a BlackBerry, and measured dimensions of stress along with organisational context.

Comparisons with the control group suggest the device can, if anything, ease the anxiety of message accumulation but with significant consequences for time spent on email outside working hours.

"This is the first time this has been researched and shows how the way we use technology such as BlackBerry means that we are over-connected, with consequences for work-life balance, resilience and productivity," says Price.

"Those with BlackBerry or equivalent spent 2.5 times as long checking emails outside working hours as those without. However, BlackBerry users had email volumes only 13 per cent higher [than those without]," he added.

Price is not without direct experience in this field. His 20-year CV includes chief executive of AIM-listed mobile technology startup Broca.

He has also served years in senior corporate roles in the telecoms and payments industries before returning to academia to pursue an MSc in Occupational Psychology at Birkbeck College, London.

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