The Activity Illusion


Whether it’s a BlackBerry, iPhone, Android or Symbian, chances are you’ve replaced that traditional mobile with a full 3G internet enabled bad boy. If not then the thought has no doubt crossed your mind.
It would be surprising to find many offices like ours wherein every staff member hasn’t jumped aboard the mobile technology runaway train. After all, any public relations agency, or marketing firm, can immediately see the benefits from having an on the go inbox. Or at least they think they can.
Introducing Ian Price. He’s an author, and the gentleman responsible for a book called The Activity Illusion. If you haven’t heard of it, then a brief synopsis will no doubt sufficiently explain. His work looks at the effects having a smartphone had on 500 workers, in terms of stress levels, productivity and workload accumulation. The results will no doubt come as no surprise to more than a few.
Obviously it was a pretty complicated procedure to record the evidence, and glean some conclusion. But, basically, Price found that staff with access to work emails in their pocket actually proved less productive. And while they also suffered less stress caused by the build up of unread items, this is counterbalanced by the ill-effects of being on ’24 hour callout’, so to speak.
So what do you think? Do you tie up loose ends successfully from the comfort of your tram home, returning to the office each day confident that you and Apple are on top of the workload. Or do you find yourself incessantly organising, and rarely finishing any tasks at hand? We’d like to think the former best describes us, although it’s probably not best practice to self-assess…