Why are we working harder than ever and yet being less effective? Why do we let work bleed into family life and holidays? A new UK study suggests that merely owning a BlackBerry or similar smart phone vastly increases the amount of time we spend checking messages outside working hours.
The rapid penetration of smartphones has taken place without the establishment of social norms for their use; this has consequences for productivity at work, work-life balance and leadership behaviours. With such technology no longer the status symbol of senior managers in large organisations, we are all at risk of overdoing it.
Author Ian Price collated data from over five hundred workers on the experience of managing work email both with and without BlackBerrys and measured dimensions of stress along with organisational context. Comparisons with the control group suggest the device can, if anything, ease the anxiety of message accumulation but with significant consequences for time spent on email outside working hours.
"This is the first time this has been researched and shows how the way we use technology such as BlackBerry means that we are over-connected with consequences for work-life balance, resilience and productivity. Those with BlackBerry or equivalent spent 2.5 times as long checking emails outside working hours as those without. However, BlackBerry users had email volumes only 13% higher," says Ian.
In his new book The Activity Illusion we discover how to work less and be more effective in our job; how up to 20% of an organisation’s payroll gets soaked up by ineffective use of email; why we get “addicted” to email and BlackBerry; and how to create the virtuous circle of an effective work life and a great life outside the office.