Traditionally, being on your phone at work has been perceived as being unprofessionalunengaged and even disrespectful. Those days are long gone and it might surprise you to know that many companies are embracing this.

YouGov conducted a survey which showed that the average UAE resident spends six hours per day glued to their smartphones. Whilst we agree that 6 hours seems excessive, we have to ask ourselves why people are spending so much time on their smartphone in the first place? The answer is really quite simple: smartphones are no longer just phones.

  • They are fast and efficient computers that connect you to people
  • They nurture your interests
  • They make your administrative life much easier.

This is even more the case living in the UAE, we do everything through apps on our smart phones. Just think about it for a minute. What do you do on your phone? Pay your bills? Order food? Book a cab? Redeem vouchers? Do your groceries? Download music? Follow the latest industry news? Watch inspirational videos? Connect with friends, family, peers and prospects? Look for jobs? Learn new things? I do all of the above and more with my smartphone and that is why it never leaves my sight.

Most people would argue that because people use their smart phones for all the above mentioned reasons, that we should discourage them from using it at the office. That is an outdated perspective, as the line between work and your personal life is constantly changing. Not only are people increasingly connected to work after hours through their smartphones, but they are increasingly expected to be. Most companies expect their staff to read and answer emails in their personal time as well as stay up to date with the latest news and technologies that affect their respective jobs.

How can companies encourage the use of smartphones in a positive way?

Companies need to accept smartphones and try to direct their usage. We have put together 4 ways that companies can use smartphones in a positive way to encourage personal growth.

  1. Encourage your employees to spend at least 3 to 5 minutes a day reinforcing industry relevant topics on their smartphones through Axonify, a leading digital learning platform. This is something Biz Group does on a day-to-day basis.
  2. Send out corporate messages through short videos that are easy to consume on smartphones.
  3. Cultivate social learning by encouraging your staff to join industry relevant forums that give them access to a large network of peers, experiences, best practices and creative problem solving skills.
  4. Encouraging employees to consume professional content that will help them grow and transform professionally. A great example of this are Tedx videos. I watched the Simon Sinek video that changed my career on my smartphone at work.

The bottom line is that in our day and age smartphones can either be a great tool of distraction or a great learning tool. And that gets defined by how companies embrace smartphones and whether they create the right structure to help direct and promote a more productive use of smartphones that help people learn and grow professionally. The choice is yours!

Keep learning.