BlackBerrys, laptops extending business hours

Is your laptop extending your work hours?


Staying in touch constantly by using laptops, BlackBerrys and other wireless devices has blurred the line between a person’s professional and personal life, according to a new survey.

Seventy-five per cent of people questioned in a survey by Yahoo! HotJobs said they used their wireless devices equally for work and personal reasons.

Nearly 30 per cent were so attached to them they only switched them off while sleeping.

“Wireless devices are powerful communications tools,” Susan Vobejda, vice-president of marketing at Yahoo! HotJobs, said in a statement.

“While they were intended to provide convenience and flexibility for workers’ lives, they have changed the physical parameters of the workplace and extended the work day. Professionals can work from anywhere and connect at any time.”

The online survey of 900 professionals revealed that 81 per cent stay connected with a mobile phone, 65 per cent use a laptop to keep in touch and 19 per cent have adopted smartphones, cellphones with computer-like functions.

Most people who responded to the poll had favourable reactions to wireless devices, but slightly more than a quarter think they are kept on a permanent corporate leash.

Vobejda said the wireless devices are a professional reality and people must set limits.

“With 67 per cent of respondents admitting to having used a wireless device to connect to work while on vacation, signs indicated that the American work force may be facing burnout,” she added.

People who can’t turn off the devices are advised to speak up if they feel they are being overworked, and to learn to say ‘no’ if work is encroaching too much on personal time.

Instead of using wireless devices to arrange meetings and business appointments, they should use them to schedule some free time.

“It’s important for people to set limits on when and how to disengage in order to maintain work-life balance,” Vobejda added.

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