Study Reveals 50 Percent Loss in Productivity When Visual Privacy Is At Risk

  Study Reveals 50 Percent Loss in Productivity When Visual Privacy Is At Risk

              3M announces full study findings at RSA Conference

RSA Conference 2013

Business Wire

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- February 25, 2013

A new study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, commissioned by 3M, the maker
of privacy filters for computers and mobile devices, reveals that employees
are 50 percent less productive when they feel their visual privacy on their
computer or mobile device screen is at risk. Based on this finding, lost
productivity due to employee visual privacy concerns is potentially costing a
U.S. business organization with more than 7,500 people more than $1 million
dollars per year. ^ 1 The 3M Visual Privacy Productivity Study also found that
visual privacy concerns impact an employee’s willingness to fully disclose
sensitive information on a computer screen, which is especially relevant in
industries where customer information is collected on a computer or tablet
screen in a public place.

3M Visual Privacy Productivity Study Infographic (1) (Graphic: 3M)

3M Visual Privacy Productivity Study Infographic (1) (Graphic: 3M)

Larry Ponemon, Chairman and Founder of the Ponemon Institute, will discuss the
findings of the 3M Visual Privacy Productivity Study and its implications at
the 2013 RSA Conference during a special presentation at the RSA Briefing
Center on Tuesday, February 26 at 11:15 a.m. PST. Attendees are also invited
to visit the 3M booth (number 532) throughout the duration of the show to
learn more about the study and experience the full portfolio of 3M privacy and
protection products.

“While many companies realize that snooping and visual privacy presents a
potential data security issue, there has been little research regarding how
the lack of visual privacy impacts a business’ bottom line,” says Mr. Ponemon.
“As workers become more mobile and continue to work in settings where there is
the potential for visual privacy concerns, companies need to find solutions to
address productivity as it relates to computer visual privacy in addition to
dealing with the fundamental security issues of mobile devices.”

The study was conducted among 274 individuals from five organizations in a
variety of business sectors. Individuals were invited to participate in a
survey that included answering sensitive questions about their employer. Prior
to taking the survey on a computer in close proximity to a stranger hovering
nearby, there was a brief waiting period where all individuals were given the
choice to work or not work. The study examined whether people chose to work or
not work when their visual privacy was invaded. It also examined whether
employees chose to answer negatively about their employer or not respond to
sensitive questions in the survey. The results outline how productivity and
transparency behaviors differed among those who were provided visual privacy
with a 3M privacy filter and those who did not have visual privacy.

For more information or to download the study whitepaper, go to The following key findings outline some
of the highlights from the whitepaper.

Some other key findings include:

  *Employees are 50 percent less productive when their visual privacy is at
    risk. Employees with visual privacy chose to work 44% of the time compared
    to 22% of the time for those without a 3M privacy filter. Based on these
    findings, this lost productivity costs an organization approximately $543
    per employee per year^2.
  *Visual privacy impacts transparency. When asked to answer a series of
    sensitive question on a computer, those who value privacy passed on nearly
    twice as many questions when they didn’t have visual privacy on a computer
    compared to those who did have a 3M privacy filter protecting their
    answers from the view of the researcher.
  *Women value privacy more and are more productive. Fifty-six percent of
    those surveyed cited privacy as either important or very important, yet
    women valued privacy more (61%) than men (50%). Similarly, women’s
    productivity was more positively impacted than men when their screen was
    protected with a privacy filter.
  *Older employees value privacy more. While 61 percent of employees older
    than 35 valued privacy, only 51 percent of those under 35 placed
    importance on privacy.
  *More than half of those surveyed said their visual privacy had been

       *69 percent in the workplace
       *55 percent while traveling via plane, train, bus
       *51 percent in a public place such as a café, airport or hotel.

  *Employees unsure on how organization handles sensitive information.

       *47 percent were unsure or did not think their organization placed an
         importance on protecting sensitive information that is displayed on
         computer screens and did not have adequate policies in place when
         employees are working in a public location.
       *58 percent were unsure or did not think other employees were careful
         about protecting sensitive information on computer or mobile device
         screens when in public places.

^1 Analysis is based on assumptions and empirical findings from various
Ponemon Institute surveys and studies. Assumes 26% of employees travel with a
computer or comparable device.

^2 Analysis is based on assumptions and empirical findings from various
Ponemon Institute surveys and studies. Assumes value of labor of typical
business user in U.S. is $56 per hour.


3M Public Relations and Corporate Communications
3M Center, Building 225-1S-15
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000

About 3M

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of
ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a
never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the
innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M
employs about 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70
countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNews on

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