Productivity in the Workplace and 24/7 Connectivity

Posted by SRA Admin on Mar 23 2016


Do smartphones, laptops, and other wireless devices really increase productivity?

Many executives believe that the 24/7 connectivity and accessibility that comes with their smartphones, PDAs, laptops, tablet computers, and other wireless technology increases productivity.  Increased responsiveness and availability and the ability to work effectively when outside of the office are benefits that these modern devices afford.  However, recently, there have been a growing number of articles, blogs, and studies in which the authors question whether the 24/7 connectivity and increased work hours that frequently accompany wireless devices actually decrease the productivity andnegatively affect the overall performance of the employees using the devices.

More Freedom and Flexibility 

There is no doubt that smartphones, laptops, and other wireless devices give employees the tools needed to effectively perform their jobs from almost anywhere.  This has allowed many companies to implement telecommuting and more flexible work policies.  Employees have the ability to work from anywhere – at home, at a café or coffee shop, or out of town.  Many employees believe that wireless and other remote internet access technology improves work-life balance and increases productivity.  Time that would have been spent in a long commute to and from the office or “around the office water cooler” can be spent working.

It is not just those employees with telecommuting or flexible work schedule options who see the potential to improve work-life balance through wireless technology.  Employees can remain connected or available while attending to more personal matters outside of the office.  In particular, employees with school-aged children can attend to their parental obligations (e.g. school carpools, extra-curricular activities, etc.) without feeling that they are completely neglecting their workplace obligations.  The technology affords Baby Boomers who care for aging parents with a similar ability to balance competing demands.


The globalization of business has also contributed to the need for wireless technology. The ability to connect with corporate headquarters from remote locations around the world is vital to the success of international operations.  Smartphones, PDAs, and laptops are often necessities for successfully conducting business with international clients and customers.  Executives with international responsibilities must have the ability to effectively communicate with their home offices when traveling and with international clients and direct reports when in their home offices.

Doing More with Less

As we have noted in prior editions of the SRA Update, the workload of managers and executives increased as a result of the downsizing that occurred at many companies during the recent economic downturn.  The ability to effectively conduct business outside of the office with wireless devices allows those employees to meet the increased demands and expectations of their positions.  However, recent studies have questioned whether the benefits of 24/7 connectivity are outweighed by the potential negative effects on employees’ personal lives, health, and even productivity. 

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Topics: technology, workplace productivity

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