A new study finds (51%) of Americans read, answer work calls, and emails in the bathroom on their cell phones. Another large group of respondents (48%) spend an hour a day or more checking them for work-related reasons.

Statistics for Cell Phone Use at Work

Scott Lucas, VP of Commercial Sales at Wilson Electronics, explained these findings as well as more cell phone at work statistics. His company undertook the survey.

Today’s Workers Try to be More Responsive

“You need to be connected and available today. Employees are fearful of losing employment or not being a team player if they don’t jump on every call or text,” he wrote.

“Today’s workforce is very career-oriented and has a drive for promotion. They may feel the quality and speed of responsiveness will help them achieve those expectations.”

There’s a good reason for small businesses to pay attention to the findings. Numbers supplied by the company report there are 378.2 million cell phones currently used by Americans.

That means there are big implications for small businesses. Because employees often have one phone for work and personal use, the lines of what’s productive, personal, and acceptable get blurred.

Talent Shortage Also Plays a Role

Add to that mix a talent shortage facing small businesses today. A recent article on Monster.com reports 65% of CIOs report this challenge is hurting their industry.

Lucas relates an interesting take on another finding from the survey.  Namely that over half (50.6%) of respondents spent one hour per day or more checking their cell phones for personal reasons. He explains why this stat might not be as counterproductive as it seems for SMB owners.

“They have to balance fun with work. That means they need to be accommodating to a higher level of personal cell phone use.”

Employees Seek to Balance Work and Life

There were other findings of interest to small businesses. Like the one that states, 55% of respondents would rather bring their phone to work rather than use a desk phone. It’s a tricky balancing act. Other numbers report 30.2% lost a deal/client or missed a key business decision/sale because of poor cellular connectivity

Lucas explains the catch 22 for SMBs

“Employees like to be socially engaged at work.”

He says younger workers thrive on interaction through messaging, phone calls, and social media. And that can put them at odds with their bosses.

Employers and Employees Have Different Perspectives

“From an employer perspective, they’re not getting the effort from their employees,” he writes. “From an employee’s perspective, if they’re not able to feel connected, their job satisfaction will decrease. That’s when employee retention becomes an issue. It’s challenging.”

The survey reflected an awareness of these blurred lines. Specifically, one group (20.3%) missed an important event in their lives for an urgent email or work call — the number spikes to 27.1% for the 25-34 age bracket.

The survey points to good connectivity as a bedrock. Thirty percent of the respondents said business they were working on suffered because of a bad cell connection.

Findings Should Cause Small Business Leaders to Rethink

“These findings should motivate business leaders to review company culture and the quality of cell connectivity in their business,” Lucas writes. “Improving the in-building cell signal will help the company grow and be more productive. This ensures every employee can take the call when it matters most, both professionally and personally.”

Image: Depositphotos.