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Gaming the system: UK workers taking time out for smartphones

business Updated: Apr 29, 2013 10:57 IST

More than half of UK workers play smartphone games on company time -- costing the economy as much as £355 million (about US$520 million) in the process.

A survey by Fortune Friendly (a mobile casino game developer) of 2,000 UK smartphone-owning adults found that attitudes towards technology have changed completely in less than a decade, with 53 percent of those polled claiming to spend up to an hour a week gaming on their handsets when they should be working.

As recently as 2005, 80 percent of UK workers believed that sending or even reading a text message during office hours was the height of bad form, but less than 10 years on, as smartphone ownership surpasses the 50 percent mark in the UK, only 9 percent of respondents claim not to use their devices at all during the working day.

The survey also found that 57 percent of respondents check their phone once every 10 minutes and that a worryingly large 69 percent admitted to using their devices while on the toilet.

Of the results, Graham Brown, Product Manager at Fortune Frenzy, said: "The British workforce has always been partial to a good skive. With the wealth of different games and apps available it unfortunately naturally follows that people are whiling away the minutes by playing games on their mobile during working hours."

Many major US and UK studies into smartphone use highlight that gaming and social media have quickly established themselves as the device's most popular uses, surpassing voice calling and text messaging; however, up until now, very few reports have focused on where and when the devices were used.