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Impact of Mobile Phone on Work Life

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The AMTA/ARC study is an exciting collaboration to provide an evidence-based

understanding of the social impact of the mobile phone on work/life balance. It is the

first study that is specifically designed to provide nationally representative data on

how mobile phones have become integrated into the everyday lives of Australians.

This innovative project employs a purpose-designed questionnaire, a phone log and a

time-diary. Together, this unique combination produces direct information about how

people use their mobiles to manage and coordinate their lives.

This preliminary report presents data collected March to May 2007 from our sample

of 1358 individuals from 845 on-line households. When the data from the off-line

household sample are added in the coming months, the total sample will be more than

1,000 households.

Key Findings

* The lowest mobile phone use is found among those aged 60 years or more, but

the mobile phone is so universally diffused that use is unaffected by income

levels and occupation.

* The majority of users are subscribers and prepaid use is concentrated among

those under 25 years. Around a quarter of managers and associate professionals

have their bills paid by their employer, whereas in other occupations around

10% or less benefit from employer support.

* Cost is by far the major reason given for choice of handset, while there is no

single factor which explains the choice of service provider.

* 'Convenience' of the mobile phone is the reason most frequently given for

choosing to talk on a mobile rather than a landline. 'Cost' is a major reason for

preferring to talk using a landline rather than a mobile.

* There is a very high awareness of 3G (86% of males and 75% of females). But

61% of respondents indicate that they do not access internet services via their

mobile phone. The lag in take-up is a topic for further research.

* Logs of actual calls made and SMS texts sent show that the predominant use of

the mobile is for contacting family and friends, with work-related reasons far

less important. Men make more calls for business purposes, while women use

the mobile for social connectivity.

* Typically mobile phone users call relatively infrequently, with 28% making

calls less than once a day.

* Calls cluster by time of day, according to purpose. Most work-related calls are

made in standard working hours. The rate of calls to family and friends are low

in working hours but high at the end of school hours and in the evening.

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* Perceived reasons for using a mobile are talk and messages. Other uses,

including data transmission, are at this point minor.

* Asynchronous communication practices, such as turning off your mobile to

avoid being disturbed, are common techniques. Ninety per cent of the

respondents 'normally' switch off their phone in the cinema, two- thirds switch

off their phone at work meetings, and almost half turn off their phones in

restaurants. Women are more reluctant than men to take their mobile phone on

holiday 'to talk to work colleagues'.

* A third of workers say that it would be difficult to do their job properly without

their mobile. This is particularly the case for men.

* Half of employed respondents think that mobiles increase their workload, for

42% the effect is neutral, and a few (9%) think mobiles reduce their workload.

This is offset by productivity gains. Over half (55%) of employed respondents

indicate that job-related mobile calls increase their productivity.

* Over two-thirds of the respondents report that the mobile phone is an important

medium for maintaining kinship ties, especially for women. The mobile is a

device well suited to maintaining



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