The smartphone in meetings, tool or poison?
According to the BRUNEAU Observatory of French life at the office carried out by TNS Sofres*, 74% of the employees questioned are bored in meetings and take advantage of this to do other activities... On their smartphone!
The now permanent connection associated with the famous reunionite have given birth to this new practice. As a result, your audience's attention is diminished and the meeting loses its effectiveness.
Accumulated over the course of a year, these are lost work hours and a real cost to the company.
Employees of large companies, in particular, spend a lot of time in meetings. This time is added to the daily workload and can cause problems in the management of day-to-day business.
It is therefore not uncommon for employees to have to answer their e-mails in meetings (40%) in order not to fall behind in their to do list. Even worse, 46% of the employees send SMS, 42% prepare the next meeting (the ultimate) and 32% even answer their personal calls!
A behavior that may shock many managers from the old school (and not only), when cell phones did not exist or were forbidden during meetings.
Another problem is that the famous multitasking that is supposed to revolutionize the world of work is actually a lure.
The human brain is not designed that way. By dividing its attention, the brain gets tired and the quality of concentration decreases.
A survey by software manufacturers Atlassian even showed that an employee needs 16 minutes to refocus after checking his emails.
A meeting requires concentration and no distractions
If you're familiar with this type of situation, it may be time to review your company or department's meeting habits.
But what to do when faced with the sacrosanct smartphone, this appendage of our brain that we can no longer do without? What can we do when everyone has one within reach at all times and it has become a real work tool?
If prohibition is almost impossible, the best thing to do is to regulate its use according to need.
The morning can, for example, be devoted to organizing the day. A quick time where you can make phone calls, send emails, review your schedule, etc. The meeting time should be slower, more relaxed, and dedicated to listening and exchanging with colleagues.
An attitude that requires concentration and therefore no distraction!
The only condition for this to work well is that meetings cannot last for hours, unless they are interspersed with breaks. And they can't be held every day.
While you have every right to demand rigour and concentration in meetings, you cannot ask your employees to spend half their time in meetings. It's all about balance.
In conclusion, although a certain tolerance is inevitable in the "all connected" era, it is nevertheless legitimate to ask your employees to turn off their mobile phones during meetings, or at least to put them on silent.
The meeting will be more efficient and shorter!
*BRUNEAU publishes with TNS Sofres the second edition of its Observatory of French Life at the Office. This study sheds light on the daily lives of employees, both in terms of their behaviour and habits and the changes brought about in their daily lives by the increasing use of digital tools. The study was conducted by TNS Sofres from 9 to 15 June 2015, among a representative sample of 602 employees aged 18 to 60.