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This memo was co-written by Jessica and John based on Jessica’s observations at a recent event.

150 attendees, great presentations, and numerous breakout sessions made for a rewarding and enjoyable day. Thanks to Columbia Bank for sponsoring their annual Women’s Event.

However, I noticed right from the start the majority of the people had their phones sitting on thetable. When the speaker was speaking I noticed some were scrolling, a few got up and walked out of the room (to make calls I’m assuming), and some were just staring at their device. Talk about an addiction.

Keep in mind the sessions were a maximum of 45 minutes and had 15-minute breaks between sessions. To me, it’s a sign of respect when someone is speaking to pay attention, nobody is as good a multi-tasker as they think they are.

Which brings me to an article in the Wall Street Journal on this very subject, it’s titled, “Eye on the Ball, Not on the Phone.”

The articled reported about how a number of managers tried different tactics to limit personal phone use at work. Why? Because just having their phone sitting on their desk lowered the employee’s cognitive performance compared to having it in another location.

Some bosses installed an app to track total time on the phone, which resulted in less time spent on the phone as the employees knew they were being monitored (this was a 45-day study).  One manager eliminated all personal phone use at desks, another had employees go to a common area to use their phone, and one manager stated he missed his phone jut as much as his employees did.

This comes down to finding a balance.  Each company’s balance will be different but right for them. This is the same as when business buyers evaluate if the seller’s responsibilities are what the buyer wants to be doing. For instance, if the current owner does all the sales and the buyer is a “behind the scenes” type of person, then the business probably isn’t a good fit. But if the buyer likes getting in front of people then it may be a fit. For more on this subject see our article, “The Magic Question – What Does the Owner Do?

“If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t there more happy people in the world?” Comedian Stephen Fry

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