If you’re the sort who takes a sneaky peek at your work email on your BlackBerry while in the bar with pals in the evening, don’t feel too guilty.
Web conferencing company InterCall (arguably biased toward reporting people are connected more to work) reports that 30% of U.S. workers who employ technology as part of their jobs feel the need to maintain a digital link to their employer at all times. Weekends and vacations, too. It’s not even just about curiosity or misplaced work-place loyalty–25% of employees say that they feel like their job security depends on remaining available digitally beyond normal office hours, and 17% say that if they don’t check in while on leave, they’ll suffer management’s displeasure. Furthermore, 50% of survey respondents said that arranging time off work was becoming much harder.
Can you say “CrackBerry” and “iPhoneaddiction?” And can you add on “Bye-bye any notion of work-life balance” just for good measure? One in three people is basically sacrificing their entire life (in a small, but nonetheless meaningful) way to their employer, which really is pushing the “live to work” saying to its limits. While it’s understandable that the recession has strained companies to the point that they’d prefer staff not to take too much leave–particularly as we begin to move into a better economic climate–which explains one of these figures, one in four people are still worried about job security to the degree that they’re permanently reachable online.
Technology is supposed to facilitate one’s work experience, making tasks smoother and more efficient, not push work so far beyond a traditional 9-5 office-based lifestyle. The way some employers question employee loyalty, or even make hiring and firing decisions based on Facebook data about staff’s private lives outside the office is already worrying. And when you blend in the recent controversy about a school disciplining its students about activities carried out in private at home, monitored through school laptops, the alarm bells are roaring. Isn’t it time to tell your company that your life is your life, and work-based tech should be kept at work?