IN his latest column for the Warrington Guardian, Steven Broomhead talks about mobile technology

THE past 10 years has seen enormous changes in relation to our personal digital dependency and the definition of the working week.

On my walks through Golden Square I am often ‘near missed’ by individuals head down, peering into their phones.

I have a new nickname for them – The Downhead Digitals. I have even considered offering them a copy of Harold Garfinkel’s 1970’s sociological study Notes of the Art of Walking.

So it’s somewhat hard to believe that a recent Ofcom report suggests that the amount of time people spend on their mobile phones has fallen for the first time as users switch to messaging, and ‘apps’.

Smartphones have overtaken televisions as the device people can’t live without, as any parent will know this on their summer holiday. People seem to want to be constantly in touch – about what is sometimes a mystery.

People now check their smartphones every 12 minutes and it’s now almost an obsessional disease.

There’s a trend that people prefer to text rather than talk leading to the risk of the Golden Square collisions. Perhaps Mr Cox the excellent manager of Golden Square, will put in no phone lanes? Checking phones during meals is considered unacceptable by 83 per cent of those over the age of 55, while only 54 per cent of those aged between 18 – 34 think it is acceptable. The smartphone is now the constant companion.

Another major shift is towards the ‘four-day working week’.

You hear more often Thursday is now the new Friday. Agile and flexible working practises are now much more prevalent in the town’s businesses with the growing mantra happy workers make happy customers. We now work on average 37 hours a week compared to 38.4 hours some 20 years ago.

Of course only a certain sector of the workforce can engage in agile working and I worry about growing workplace life inequality.

Then there is the creeping effect of the ‘smartphone’ as you are now never far away from work. It will be interesting to see how our businesses react to the ‘agile working/digital era’ in the next few years.

When 7,000 plus people create a motivational wall of sound it raises the spirits and compels achievement. This is what happened in the rugby league semi final at Bolton. A great win and boost for our confidence and happiness quotient in the town. Well done Mr Price, Mr Moran, Mr Middleton, Mr Lomax, Mr Fitzpatrick and a team that is now back to its best. Onwards to Wembley victory.