Do you use your smartphone at work? One expert says that is a bad idea

Admit it, millennials: You check your smartphone at least once an hour, right? Well, if you’re like most people of this age group and you’re being honest, it’s more likely to be every 20 minutes or so.

That is among the findings from KDM Engineering, an engineer consulting firm in downtown Chicago. It recently completed a survey that shows people are using their smartphones far more than they realized, especially at work.

Its survey showed the impact of smartphone addiction at work:

• 70% think it’s wrong to bring smartphones to meetings, 53% do it anyway
• 80% think it’s wrong to check phones during meetings, 50% do it anyway
• 43% of millennials check their phone every 20 minutes

Collin Czarnecki, the researcher who compiled the data for KDM Engineering, talked to Corp! magazine about what smartphone addiction does to workplace flow and why people should worry about that.

Q: Most people agree that checking your smartphone during interviews or conversations breaks the mood. Do you agree and why?
A: Checking your smartphone in almost any social situation, especially during a job interview, breaks the mood. Maintaining eye contact is incredibly important during the interview process. It shows the interviewer that you’re engaged, professional and taking the opportunity seriously. They’ve taken the time from their day to meet with you one-on-one, so be respectful and grateful by making sure your phone is completely out of sight. Turn the ringer and vibration setting to “silent,” or better yet, turn the phone off completely before you walk into the building.

Q: What does smartphone addiction do to office partnerships or relationships?
A: Similar to checking your phone during an interview, smartphone addiction can also hurt office partnerships and relationships with coworkers and team members. “Phone zombies” at work can create a multifaceted problem for the employee, team members, managers and the office environment as a whole. When one team member is constantly checking their phone it can be viewed as acceptable behavior by other team members and a domino effect develops. Over time, this behavior can drain office energy and productivity. For the employee, smartphone addiction can throw off your workflow, especially if you’re constantly glancing over to check notifications, texts or to refresh your Instagram feed. At the end of the day, your job is more important.

Q: Why should people break that attachment, especially at work?
A: Smartphone addiction can be detrimental to your workflow. If you begin to make a habit out of checking your phone at work it can not only hurt your efficiency, but also your relationships with team members and managers. Depending upon your company’s culture, you may even get reprimanded – or worse – by a manager or superior. If you feel you absolutely have to check your phone, it’s best to only check it during a break or at lunch, or at the very least keep screen time to a minimum while at work.