It's wonderful to be able to work from anywhere and at any time. However, for many employees, that means working from everywhere all the time. You're tethered to your job, able to see the latest emails and status updates -- and you're expected to act on them. If you work at a national or global company, a workday that can circle the clock, and a recent survey by mobile management provider Good Technology shows that's what people are doing.
In fact, they're working on average seven more hours per week -- unpaid, of course. That means they're working six days a week but paid for five.
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The survey's key findings:
- 80 percent of people continue working when they've left the office, for an average of seven extra hours each week
- 60 percent do it to stay organized, half because customers want quick responses, and 31 percent just find it hard to switch off at night
- 68 percent of people check work email before 8 a.m., with an average first look at 7:09 a.m.
- 68 percent of people check their work emails before 8 a.m.
- The average American first checks their phone around 7:09 a.m.
- 50 percent check their work email while still in bed
- The workday is growing: 40 percent do work email after 10 p.m.
- 69 percent will not go to sleep without checking their work email
- 57 percent check work emails on family outings
- 38 percent routinely check work emails while at the dinner table
I'm one of those people -- well, I don't check email in bed or before I go to bed, nor at the dinner table. In the past, I used my iPad on the train to read The Economist and other periodicals, but when I got the cellular version, I caught up on email, status checks, and tweeting for work instead in my 45-minute (each way) commute. I can't help but see emails when using my iPad at home at night for personal reasons: The notifications float across the screen, after all. I'm so happy about iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion's ability to hide these notifications on a schedule of my choosing, such as between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. The technology that now feeds my workaholism may help reduce it.
As an exempt employee, I don't get paid for overtime. (In fact, that's what "exempt" means: exempt from overtime.) There is a true convenience to being able to do work at odd hours or when on the road: You can keep things moving and carve out time for your personal needs by trading work time for home time. Except it's clear we're not trading -- most of us are just giving away more of our time to our jobs.