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Mobile Phones Are Both A Gift And Curse For Employees This Holiday Season

PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobile phones are a work necessity but not everyone is happy about it. A newly released survey from Jive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq:JIVE) finds that nearly nine out of 10 (87 percent) employees[1] in the United States are bothered by bad phone behavior at work, with loud private conversations in public areas in the workplace (65 percent) being the number one offense. But it's not just loud talk that gets on people's nerves around the office. 59 percent of employees also cited failing to silence or turn off phones when appropriate, and 59 percent of employed women were frustrated by their colleagues checking phones during in-person conversations – versus 46 percent of working men.



On the positive side, as the holiday season approaches, 35 percent of employees say mobile phones give them more freedom–allowing them to work from anywhere so they can take more time off. Not surprisingly, text messages (60 percent) and emails (40 percent) were among the top uses for employees who own mobile devices, proving that productivity no longer requires people to be tied to a desk. Additional findings from the study, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive in November 2013 among 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+, show a majority of employees find email etiquette to be equally frustrating at work – with 36 percent saying that "reply-to-all" when the response only needs to go to one person is one of the most annoying email habits.

Here is a by-the-numbers look at key findings from the Jive survey:

The vast majority of employees (87 percent) are annoyed by at least one mobile behavior exhibited by their coworkers.
  • The most annoying mobile behavior, according to 65 percent of employed people, is having loud or private conversations in public/common areas of the workplace.
  • 59 percent of employed people are annoyed by their coworkers who fail to silence or turn off their mobile phones when they should.
  • 52 percent of employees are annoyed by people who check their phones during an in-person conversation.
  • Taking "selfies" at work doesn't seem to have the same adverse reaction, with only one out of four (25 percent) finding it annoying.

More than half of employees who use mobile phones for work (55 percent) feel that it has affected their freedom.
  • 35 percent feel they have more freedom, with their mobile phones allowing them to work from anywhere, so they can take more time off.
  • 20 percent feel they have less freedom and are now required to be "always on" no matter where or when, with no real time off.

Email etiquette matters: 65 percent of employees reported that they are annoyed by at least one email behavior exhibited by their coworkers.
  • The most annoying email offense is using reply-all when the response only needs to go to one person, with 36 percent of employees reporting that they are bothered by this.
  • 33 percent of employed people find it annoying when they receive emails through distribution lists that are not relevant to them.
  • One out of five people (20 percent) find it annoying when people reply to older emails without first reading the entire chain.

Need to get someone's attention in the workplace? Most employed people prefer to receive emails instead of shouting over the wall.
  • 98 percent of employees found email to be the least disruptive way to get their attention while they are trying to get work done.
  • 25 percent of employees find yelling across the office to be the most disruptive way of communicating, followed closely by phone calls, which 22 percent find disruptive.
  • Rather than stopping by in person to chat, which 19 percent find to be disruptive, try scheduling a meeting, which only 4 percent find disruptive.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Jive Software within the United States from November 7-11, 2013 among 2,010 adults ages 18 and older (among whom 1,070 are employed full-time, part-time and/or self-employed), via its QuickQuery Omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, education, region, and Internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

These online surveys are not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Jason Khoury,


Jive ( JIVE) is the communication and collaboration platform for modern, mobile business. Recognized as a leader in social business by the industry's top analyst firms, Jive's cloud-based platform connects employees, customers and partners – transforming the way work gets done and unleashing productivity, creativity and innovation for millions of people in the world's largest businesses. More information can be found at or the Jive News Blog  here.

[1] For the purposes of this study, "employees" is defined as adults (ages 18+) who are employed full-time, part-time and/or self-employed.

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