Late-night smartphone users 'less engaged' at work

Late night screen time decreases work productivityPic: Getty

Between the tablets, smartphones and laptops inhabiting most British homes these days, switching off is becoming increasingly difficult. And for some, the habit of late-night email checking or Internet browsing could not only be affecting their sleep, but consequently their career.

According to researchers at the University of Washington, using your phone or tablet late at night can cause such a poor night's sleep that the following day's work performance is similarly lacking.

The team in Washington carried out two studies designed to show the effects of late-night screen time. In the first, 82 mid to high level managers completed multiple surveys each day for a period of two weeks. Researchers discovered late-night smartphone usage damaged the participants' sleep, making them tired the following day and 'less engaged' at work.

The second study saw 161 employees complete the same surveys, while also monitoring their late-night TV, laptop and tablet time.

Of all the devices used, smartphones were "associated with the most powerful effects", and the researchers urged bosses to agree an online or email cut-off point with their employees in a bid to improve productivity.

According to the Daily Mail, Christopher Barnes, an assistant professor of management at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business, said: "Smartphones are enormously valuable for helping people to fit work activity into times and places outside of the office.

"Our new research indicates the greater connectivity comes at a cost: using a smartphone to cram more work into a given evenings results in less work done the next day."

The team suggested switching off screens, whether smartphone, tablet or laptop, at 9pm each evening in order to get the best out of your working day.

Do you struggle to switch off because of smartphones and tablets? Has it affected your productivity or sleep? Leave your comments below...