Canadian Employees Using Company-Issued Devices for Fun

Almost two thirds of the instant messages sent during work hours are not related to work.

Vancouver, BC [September 25, 2018] – Canadian employees whose smartphones are being financed by employers are spending more time sending instant messages to friends and family than connecting with colleagues to deal with tasks, a new Research Co. poll has found.

The online survey of a representative national sample asked Canadians who are employed full time and have a smartphone that their company is paying for about the instant messages they send while at work,

Just over a third of the instant messages that are sent during work hours on company-issued smartphones (35%) are interactions with colleagues for work-related tasks. Almost two thirds of the messages (65%) are interactions with family, friends and acquaintances for fun.

Across the country, full-time employees in Atlantic Canada are the most likely to use their company-issued devices for fun (69%), followed by those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (67%), Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia (all at 65%) and Alberta (63%).

Full-time employees in the highest annual household income bracket are less likely to use their company-issued devices for fun (60%) than those in the lower income brackets.

“While a majority of instant messages sent from smartphones that employers are paying for are for fun, there are some generational differences,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Employees aged 55 and over are more likely to be having fun with company-issued devices during work hours than their younger counterparts.”

More than a third of full-time employees (35%) say they received a confusing message from someone they know because of auto-correct—a proportion that jumps to 47% among those aged 18-to-34. Millennial respondents are also more likely to have sent a confusing message because of auto-correct (45%, compared to the Canada-wide average of 30%).

Three-in-ten respondents (31%) say they declined an invitation to connect with a person through instant messaging in the last six months, and 18% say they left an instant messaging group they belonged to.

The most popular platform for instant messaging is Facebook Messenger, with 83% of respondents saying they use it during work hours, while more than half rely on messaging applications on their smartphone (62%), Skype (also 62%), Twitter Direct Messages (57%) and LinkedIn Messenger (also 57%).

Fewer respondents use WhatsApp (49%), Windows Live Messenger (33%) and Blackberry Messenger (16%) during work hours.


Results are based on an online study conducted from May 7 to May 11, 2018, among 659 adults in Canada who are employed full-time and have a smartphone that their company is paying for. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.8 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

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