Study finds work productivity cut in half when visual privacy at risk

Disclosure: study commissioned by 3M, a client of Hunter PR, and I work on the team.


Although I’m on the 3M team, this study is a must share. When I’m on the train, waiting in line, working from a coffee shop or working just about anywhere, I do not want people looking at what I’m doing. Sometimes I may be on Twitter or Pinterest, but I still do not want people to be able to see what I am doing all the time.

When it comes to working on client things or working on something for the agency, discretion is a must. If I feel like people can see what I am doing, I am less likely to do anything productive.

A new study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and commissioned by 3M, has revealed that employees are 50% less productive when they feel their visual privacy on their computer or mobile device screen is at risk.

3M-VisualPrivacy-infographic 3M-VisualPrivacy-infographic-2

Based on this finding, productivity lost due to visual privacy concerns could cost a business more than $1 million dollars per year. From Digitimes, “The 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.”

More key findings:

  • 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.

How to fix the privacy issue:

Privacy filters are the first place to start. 3M has different types of privacy filters for your laptop, smartphone and desktop computer. These filters allow only you to see what you are working on and appear to make the screen display black or gold to anyone else watching.

Make sure you get the one that fits your screen though! Check out the privacy filter measurement chart.

You can also buy the privacy filters on Amazon and other online outlets.

Like I stated before, 3M is a client, but this was an important study and I know privacy concerns impact a lot of people. Visual privacy is a widespread concern. I hope you find this study helpful!

For more information or to read/download the full study, visit

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