PhotoTechnology can increase productivity in the workplace, but it can also lead employees to become distracted -- especially in the case of smartphones.

Three in four employers say two or more hours a day are lost in productivity due to distractions such as smartphones, according to new research by CareerBuilder.

Nearly 20% of employers think workers are productive less than five hours a day. The productivity-killing culprit? Smartphones and the many distractions they offer.

Mobile phones, texting, and the internet are to blame for a majority of distractions, according to more than half of employers. But because remaining connected to devices is imperative in many workplace scenarios, simply banning them from the office isn’t a viable option.

So what can be done to help reduce the instances of employees clicking over to social media or other apps while on the job?

Managing tech distractions

Productivity killers can lead to negative consequences for the office or organization, including compromised quality of work and lower morale because other workers have to pick up the slack. But steps can be taken to remove distractions.

“The connectivity conundrum isn’t necessarily a bad thing," says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources office at CareerBuilder. "But it needs to be managed."

She recommends having an open dialogue with employees about tech distractions. Acknowledging the iPhone-shaped elephant in the room can help pave the way for solutions.

Squashing smartphone-related distractions comes in many forms. Among the 76% of employers who have taken at least one step to combat productivity killers, 32% have blocked certain Internet sites, while 26% have opted to ban personal calls/cell phone use at work.

Other efforts to thwart the productivity-diminishing effects of devices include:

  • Scheduling lunch and break times (24%)
  • Monitoring emails and internet usage (19%)
  • Limiting meetings (17%)
  • Allowing people to telecommute (14%)
  • Having an open space layout instead of cubicles (14%)
  • Restricting use of speakerphones if not in an office (13%)
  • Increasing height of cubicle walls to make it easier to concentrate (8%)

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