Survey Finds People Take Their 'Lovers' to Work in Their Pockets

jLovers to Work Workers around the world are so attached to their mobile devices that they have relationships with them like those with with new lovers -- they can't bear to leave them at home, they take them everywhere, and engage with them as often as possible, even surreptitiously at work.

So say the findings of a survey done by BBDO Worldwide and Microsoft Advertising, which conducted research to explore consumers' emotional connections with television, PCs and mobile devices. They gathered feedback from more than 1,500 consumers in five different countries including China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the U.K. and the U.S. Researchers then applied Jungian archetypes to help assign personalities to each device.

While consumers look at TV like an old, reliable and entertaining friend and the PC like an older sibling, the mobile device is "like a new lover," according to the survey: "The most personal device and something users feel close to. They want it with them at all times. It is a relationship that is just beginning and, as such, cuts across all age groups and geographies because of its 'newness.' "

Dalliances by Demographic

"Archetypes will continue to evolve as devices become more sophisticated, and audiences grow older, younger or more mature," said Simon Bond, chief marketing officer for BBDO North America and co-presenter of the research at Cannes. "What's important is to know how people are interacting with these screens now, rather than five years from now."

And right now, the world over, people appear to be using their personal mobile devices constantly -- both on and off the company clock. But apparently the love affair is more intense in some demographics than others. For example, people under 30 are more inclined to watch video and play games on their mobile devices, so it stands to reason that they are more distracted by them at work.

On the other hand, people over 45 are more likely to prefer watching programs or movies on TV, so they're more likely to wait until they get home to watch their favorite program, and aren't as tempted to watch entertainment content on mobile devices at their desks.

The research also found that mobile devices are the screen of choice -- over television and PCs, in developing markets, which isn't surprising, since they're the least expensive and most portable. That would make them a bigger distraction at work the world over.

This raises the question of whether employers should accommodate these love relationships with mobile devices by providing rooms or other space for workers to use them without bothering others, or crack down on workers who carry on these affairs on company time.

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