Survey lays bare people's phone habits

25% of Brits will answer the phone while on the toilet

The use of smartphones and other communications technology by senior managers and CEOs is driving a more flexible approach to working, a new survey has revealed.

Survey respondents reported that they often participated in conference calls from home, sent or received emails while attending meetings, or used their smartphone to keep up with work while at personal events such as weddings or funerals.

The survey, which focused on manager-level employees and above, was carried out in the US, the UK, and Australia by Avaya, Inc.

The "always-on" nature of mobile communications has affected people's personal lives too. A separate study also released Tuesday shows that British people spend an average of 10 months of their adult lives talking on their mobile phone, making on average of 88,000 calls totalling over 7,000 hours in length. The CPP Phonesafe study also found that women spend on average two months longer than men chatting on their mobiles over their lifetime.

And although mobile phones are a constant presence in people's lives, the survey also showed that users aren't ignorant to the many ways of avoiding talking to people on them. Eighty-four per cent said they "screen" calls and would ignore them if they didn't want to speak with the caller, while 68 per cent admitted making up an excuse in order to end a call.

More than a quarter pretended their battery was running out and another 12 per cent said they were running late for an appointment. Mothers were the most frequent recipients of these tactics - a quarter of people said they were the most difficult to get off the phone.

Both surveys suggested that some people will answer their phone whatever the circumstances. A quarter of British people admitted to answering their mobile while on the toilet and one in five will take a call while having a bath.

For their part, smartphone users are twice as likely to answer their device while on the toilet as regular phone users, and senior managers were much more likely than their staff to have participated in a conference call wearing only their pyjamas or a bath robe.

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