A passerby uses a smartphone to capture an anti-government rally on Jun 30, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.

This evening at sundown until Saturday at sundown is the National Day of Unplugging, an event which encourages people to stay away from technology for 24 hours. Ahead of this event, TRUCE Software, a company that focuses on mobile device management technology, conducted a survey examining employees’ smartphone habits during a shift at work. The results weren’t too encouraging.

Yes, hand-held devices can be used to improve employee productivity and safety, but they also create distractions that themselves lead to safety concerns.

“The majority of respondents (89 percent) admit they put their phone on silent mode at various times throughout the workday just to minimize the interruptions,” says Joe Boyle, CEO at TRUCE Software. “While this is a promising statistic, the challenge to keep distractions at bay is exacerbated with more than 80 percent of respondents admitting they have some level of automated alerts set up on their phones, sending them alerts throughout the day — many of which are non-work-related.”

To coincide with National Day of Unplugging, TRUCE Software surveyed 1,500 employees across varying occupations nationwide to gauge how smart devices are influencing their workday. In addition to the above findings, the survey identified both counter-productive and unsafe behaviors regarding mobile device usage on the job. For example:

- More than half (57 percent) of respondents admit to lingering in the restroom or taking an extended break to finish reading or watching something on their phone before returning to work.

- Nearly a quarter of respondents say they have hidden a phone while in a meeting so that they could continue to check messages or text with a coworker.

- Eighteen percent of respondents say they have tripped, bumped into something or someone or experienced some other sort of embarrassing misstep while looking at their phone.

“The extent to which we are tied to our devices, all day, at work and at home is the reason behind a holiday like National Day of Unplugging,” says Boyle. “Employees and their employers are struggling with this seemingly never-ending clash between the need to stay connected and the need to get things done. At TRUCE, we’re helping companies of all sizes solve that conflict by providing a platform to manage the safe and productive use of mobile devices when and where it’s needed.”