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25 Trending Cell Phones In The Workplace Statistics [2023]: Cell Phone Use And Distraction In The Workplace

By Chris Kolmar
Mar. 30, 2023
Fact Checked
Cite This Webpage Zippia. "25 Trending Cell Phones In The Workplace Statistics [2023]: Cell Phone Use And Distraction In The Workplace" Zippia.com. Mar. 30, 2023, https://www.zippia.com/advice/cell-phones-at-work-statistics/

Research Summary. Cell phones have changed work and personal life in significant ways, and as with any tool, they can be used for good or bad. Companies see this firsthand as their employees can be both more distracted and more productive thanks to these devices. Here are some stats on cell phones at work:

  • 66% of American employees admit to using their cell phones at work several times a day.

  • 55% of employees say personal messaging is the top reason they use their cell phones at work.

  • Highly mobile employees spend an average of 33% of their workdays on their cell phones.

  • The average employee spends almost eight hours per workweek on their cell phones doing non-work-related activities.

  • 87% of companies now expect their teams to use their personal devices.

For further analysis, we broke down the data in the following ways:
Company Policy | Benefits | Problems | Demographics
66% of US employees admit to using their cell phones several times a day at work

General Cell Phones At Work Statistics

  • On average, employees spend 56 minutes each workday performing non-work-related activities on their cell phones.

  • 30% of surveyed employees say they spend most of the time on their cell phones for personal use checking personal email.

  • 28% of surveyed employees said they use social media while they’re at work.

  • 51% of employees use their phones to conduct work while they’re in the bathroom.

  • 97% of U.S. adults say they own a cell phone, and 85% of those say they own a smartphone.

  • 93% of U.S. employees who own a smartphone and spend at least a third of their time away from a desk use their cell phones for work every day.

Company Policy On Cell Phones At Work Statistics

  • 75% of U.S. employees use their personal cell phones for work.

    This statistic has remained largely unchanged since before the COVID-19 pandemic, though it can be hard to track usage as workers have moved away from corporate offices and brought equipment into their homes.

  • 55% of employees would rather use their own cell phone for work than a desk phone.

    There are a variety of reasons this could be true. For example, employees are already familiar with their cell phones and may not want to figure out a new device, or they like to easily save and call contacts as they drive or conduct other out-of-office business.

    Whatever the reason for it, though, this much professional cell phone use also comes with a downside: Over 30% also said that they’d lost business or a client due to poor cellular service.

  • 84% of companies have a BYOD (bring your own device) policy.

    This means 84% of companies allow or expect their employees to use their own cell phones for work.

  • 51% of employees use company-mandated apps to do work on their cell phones.

    This includes apps for tasks such as company-wide communication and data storage systems that IT departments manage. Many employees also use additional apps to do their jobs that IT doesn’t mandate or even know about.

Benefits of Cell Phones At Work Statistics

  • When employees use cell phones for work purposes, managers and executives say they see a 34% increase in productivity.

  • 82% of employees say that social media allows them to strengthen their relationships with coworkers and colleagues.

  • 48% of employees spend at least an hour each day using their cell phones for work.

Problems With Cell Phones At Work Statistics

  • Workers who spend at least 30% of their workday on social network sites are more likely to blur ethical lines around the relationship between their mobile devices and their work.

    These employees are more likely to find these behaviors acceptable:

    • Posting negatively about their employer or coworkers.

    • Keeping confidential work documents for their own future use.

    • Becoming friends with clients or customers makes it easier for the employee to take them from the company if they leave to start their own business.

    • Using software purchased by their employer on their personal devices.

  • 39% of surveyed organizations said they experienced a data security breach due to lost or stolen devices.

    If employees use their cell phones for work, the likelihood of losing those devices goes up, along with the company’s risk of data breaches.

  • There is a 28% increase in the probability of an employee making an error after getting a phone call and an increase of 23% after getting a text.

    Additional studies have found that simply hearing or feeling an alert on a cell phone can cause the same rate of error.

  • 55% of employers consider cell phone use to be the biggest adversary of workplace productivity.

    More specifically, 55% of survey respondents said that personal messages were the top distraction. After that, 51% said checking the weather drew them to their cell phones, 44% said the same about the news, and 24% said games were their weak point.

Cell Phones At Work Demographics

  • 83% of millennials open texts within 90 seconds of receiving them.

  • 72% of millennials text more than ten times per day.

  • 82% of employees keep their cell phones within their eyesight during their workdays.

Cell Phones At Work FAQ

  1. How do cell phones affect the workplace?

    Cell phones affect the workplace by creating both more connection and more distraction. Workers can use cell phones to stay connected to clients, coworkers, and supervisors no matter where they may be, increasing productivity.

    However, they can also use them to distract themselves from doing their work.

  2. Does personal cell phone use hurt productivity at work?

    Personal cell phone use can hurt productivity at work. If used in moderation, personal messaging, and social media can be a good break for employees, increasing productivity, but generally, workers spend about an hour a day on their phones, harming productivity.

  3. What percentage of companies allow or require employees to use their personal cell phones for work tasks?

    84% of companies allow or require employees to use their personal cell phones for work tasks. Most of these organizations provide mandatory apps that keep company data secure.

  4. Are cell phones a distraction at work?

    Yes, cell phones can be a distraction at work. For example, employees spend an average of 56 minutes doing non-work related activities on their cell phones, and other studies show that up to 2 hours of potential work can be wasted per day due to cell phones.

    Even more shocking, is that up to 14% of workers have reported that distraction from cell phones has caused serious workplace accidents that resulted in injury or death.


It’s no secret that cell phones are one of the top distractions in the workplace. The typical employee wastes about an hour of every workday on personal cell phone activities, and the likelihood that they’ll make a mistake in their work goes up 23% after getting a text, whether they read it right then or not.

Even still, most companies allow cell phones because they can also be used to increase productivity. Employees can stay productive even when they’re outside of the office (over half of those surveyed say they’ve used their phones to complete work-related tasks while in the bathroom), and they can connect with industry experts on social networks.

84% of companies even allow or require workers to use their personal cell phones as their work phones, making it even easier for employees to stay reachable all the time.

There are security considerations with this, as over a third of companies have experienced a data breach due to a lost or stolen device, and personal cell phones are often lost or stolen. Over half of employers require their workers to use certain secure apps to conduct business on their phones to combat this.


  1. Fortune. “Here’s How You’re Wasting 8 Hours Per Work Week.” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  2. Business News Daily. “How Much Time Are Your Employees Wasting on Their Phones?” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  3. Small Business Trends. “51% of Americans Handle Work Calls – And More – In the Bathroom.” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  4. Pew Research. “Mobile Fact Sheet.” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  5. Insights. “New Study Shows Critical Role of Smartphones in Workforce Productivity.” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  6. Dialpad. “How To Safely Allow Employees To Use Their Personal Cell Phones for Work.” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  7. Insights. “Employees Say Smartphones Boost Productivity by 34 Percent: Frost Sullivan Research.” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  8. Harvard Business Review. “Employees Who Use Social Media for Work Are More Engaged – But Also More Likely To Leave Their Jobs.” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  9. Leaders’ Choice Insurance. “The Risks of Staff Using Personal Devices for Work.” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  10. Forbes. “Is Your Cell Phone Killing Your Productivity at Work?” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  11. CBS News. “Your Smartphone is Making You a Workplace Slacker.” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

  12. BetaNews. “Millennials Prefer To Deal With Companies by Text.” Accessed on September 24, 2021.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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