Connected Tech Means Work-Life Balance Is Tilting Towards Stress

from the it's-everywhere dept

It’s no secret that the “always on, always connected” life-style is forcing some adjustments for people. A few years ago, we noted that the work-life balance was often tilting too far in favor of work, as employers liked that they could reach employees during the off-hours, but were still freaking out about any bit of life creeping into the workplace. With that in mind, it probably comes as a shock to no one that many people are blaming their mobile connected devices for bringing more stress into their lives. Everyone complains about how work follows them everywhere, but women also complain that family stress now follows them to work as well. Of course, this is all based on surveys, rather than actual measurements of stress levels. It’s quite common for people to complain about things like how their mobile phone keeps them tethered, but they forget about how they bought it in the first place to stay in better touch and to have more flexibility. It is true that companies need to learn to let their employees be more flexible — and mobile device users need to learn how to better prioritize (as well as when and how to shut down), but it’s all part of adjusting to new technologies.

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Comments on “Connected Tech Means Work-Life Balance Is Tilting Towards Stress”

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Chris says:

Re: What mobile connected devices?

I too have gone wireless-less. I used to talk on my cell phone constantly with family and friends, but when my contract ran out a few years ago, I decided to cancel it. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

Far from losing touch with the people in my life, we now talk just as often as ever, but our conversations are much more meaningful, because I am at home and giving them my full attention.

Cell phones are useful tools if used appropriately, but most of they time they are just a horrible niuesance, and unlimited calling is just making things worse.

Sissy Pants says:

Re: Re: What mobile connected devices?

We could always blame stress levels on self restraint… is it the cakes fault that you’re an obese lazy bastard? I think not.

Just because you have a phone, or computer, or blackberry doesn’t mean you can’t turn it off. Or put it away. If you’re stressed out and bring work home with you, it’s your fault. Put down the phone, the cake, the beer… grab a gun and do us all a favor.

Andrew Strasser (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: What mobile connected devices?

I don’t have a cell phone anymore. Really don’t desire them. I think they were invented for people who spend entirly too much time on the telephone, however they can be a benefit for many short term.

Cell phones and any Radio Frequency can raise the risk of cancer. Ask the “Can you hear me now guy?” who’s suing Sprint because of tumors. The new earplugs are good though depending the type. Then again who says RF causes cancer there’s no proof of that…

ThinkBeforeYouAnswer (user link) says:

Compulsory answering?

I often watch in amazement as somebody looks at their ringing cell phone in a meeting or other inconvenient location, answers it, and then says in an embarassed and hushed tone “I can’t talk now, I’ll call you back later.”

If you can’t talk, don’t answer! Or turn it off! Everybody has caller id. It’s not like you can’t tell if it’s your boss or your daughter. Having a cell phone is only a “leash” if you choke yourself with it.

Nilt says:

Re: Compulsory answering?

If you can’t talk, don’t answer! Or turn it off! Everybody has caller id. It’s not like you can’t tell if it’s your boss or your daughter. Having a cell phone is only a “leash” if you choke yourself with it.

Exactly. I have to have a cell for my work because I’m not in an office unless it’s a client’s office. That doesn’t mean the cell is on when I’m on the client’s dime, though. It also doesn’t mean I take it with me when I’m on family time. My cell is for my business; I have voice mail for when I’m not available.

Michael Vilain says:

I'm probably not the cell phone type...

I switched from a pager to a cell a couple years ago when the guy I was dating called my pager “so 80’s”. My cell became my business number and I only use it for that. Since I usually don’t have my schedule book with me when I’m away from my desk, I don’t answer the thing when it rings unless I’m meeting someone. But, it’s _my_ phone, not my employers, so I have the freedom to ignore calls whenever.

Every client who’s had a Treo or other cell-enabled PIM has had multiple units. I can’t see replacing a Daytimer with something that’s so fragile or might cause problems if my records are audited by the IRS.

Anonymous Coward says:

I'm amazed at what people allow their bosses to do

I’m an IT worker. Yes, I can be reached at any time. The difference here is that I only have whatever my boss purchased to enable that line of communication. I specifically don’t/won’t buy a cel. phone only to use it to give my boss a noose by which to hang me. When he has to purchase the equipment, he looks at the cost of that purchase pretty seriously and consequently decided a pager was all *he* could afford.

Take my advice: if you have a cellular phone, don’t tell your employer. Don’t give them a free means by which to get a hold of you and they will respect that boundary more than they would otherwise. Dedicate the phone you purchased for emergencies/friends/family and you will reduce your stress accordingly.

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