Improve efficiency - switch off your smartphone
Posted in: Mobile & Wireless at 21/05/2012 03:54
... Which brings us to some intriguing research by a Harvard academic, Leslie Perlow. Four years ago, Professor Perlow conducted a pilot experiment with a six-person team at the Boston Consulting Group, an elite business consulting firm. The team was a classic example of "always-on" professionals who were caught in what Perlow christened the "cycle of responsiveness".
"The pressure to be on," she writes, "usually stems from some seemingly legitimate reason, such as requests from clients or customers or teammates in different time zones. People begin adjusting to these demands - adapting the technology they use, altering their daily schedules, the way they work, even the way they live their lives and interact with their families and friends - to be better able to meet the increased demands on their time. Once colleagues experience this increased responsiveness, their own requests expand. Already working long hours, most just accept these additional demands - whether they are urgent or not - and those who don't risk being branded as less committed to their work."
Perlow persuaded the team to try an experiment - collectively to agree to disconnect from their smartphones and computers for a few predetermined hours every week. She called it Predictable Time Off (PTO). The results surprised both her and them. The consultants reported that they felt more motivated, had increased job satisfaction and were more satisfied with their work-life balance. They also reported that they had become more efficient, effective and collaborative as a team. The PTO experiment was then replicated across most of the teams working in the BCG's north-eastern US offices - with results that confirmed the findings of the pilot study.
To read this article in The Observer in full, see: