The Ups and Downs of Always Being Connected
While technology exists that enables employees to remain "connected" at all times, telecommuting experts caution telecommuters to be aware of the inability to "shut it off." Moreover, experts encourage employees not to feel the necessity of being constantly on the job.
Mobility at a Price
Today's workforce may be more mobile than ever -- thanks to the proliferation of wireless computing, PDAs, and access to e-mail from anywhere at any time. However, that mobility comes at a price, and the price may be the feeling of being on a "leash." So writes Brian McDonough at newsfactor.com. Even when on vacation, workers -- whether they are office workers or teleworkers -- are increasingly feeling the need to check their e-mail and check in with the office.
Gartner Study Confirms a Problem Exists
McDonough cites a Gartner survey, which found the following:
- Vacationers are addicted to e-mail.
- Of the 332 businesses people surveyed, 42% check their business e-mail while on vacation.
- 23% check their e-mail on weekends.
McDonough's article cites psychologist, Martin Factor, who says that "always-on connectivity may create anxiety when we disconnect...as e-mail piles up, the simple dread of wading through that in-basket can lead off-duty employees to check in."
Maureen Caplan Grey, a senior research analyst for Gartner, says that "e-mail has become the corporate security blanket of this decade. The thought of communication happening without our knowledge keeps us tethered to the workplace." The problem, according to Grey, is the potential of burnout on the part of workers who can't get away from work, even when on vacation.