Staying Connected 24/7 Takes Its Toll

Why staying connected to the office 24/7 may not be a good thing

gallup technologyMost of us are connected 24/7. We’re texting, emailing and checking our Facebook pages almost constantly. And that may not be such a good thing.

On a personal level, many couples fight over cell phone usage. Twenty-five percent of married and committed couples said they felt their partner was distracted by their cell phone when they were together, according to Couples, the Internet, and Social Media published by Pew Research. Some said that they argue with their partner about how much time they are spending online.

While staying connected is often social, increasingly it’s becoming work related. Many employees regularly check messages outside of working hours according to Gallup. Of poll respondents, 40 percent of men and 31 percent of women reported that they “frequently” check messages from the office. Gallup also noted similar findings across all age groups with 38 percent of Millennials, 37 percent of Gen X, and 33 percent of Boomers saying they often check work emails.

One of the downsides is that employees who spend more hours working remotely outside of normal working hours are more likely to experience stress. But, despite the “stress factor” most employers expect their employees to be available whenever they are needed. Some provide staff with smartphones expressly for that purpose.

Still there are a few leaders speaking out again the current 24/7 work cycle. Earlier this year, Arianna Huffington spoke passionately at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference about the need to step back. She talked about waking up in a pool of blood after cutting her eye and breaking her cheekbone when she collapsed from exhaustion in 2007. At the Huffington Post, not only do employees have several places to take a nap, she established a policy of disconnecting from the office where employees are not expected to answer email after hours or over the weekend.

Given our current 24/7 culture it’s unlikely that companies with policies that favor disconnecting from the office will become the norm anytime soon. But there needs to be some type of compromise. Is it urgent every time an email is sent after hours? My guess is probably not.

 

About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.

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