Posted on August 9, 2011 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
Recent studies have investigated the inability for employees to psychologically detach from work while away from the office. For instance, the majority of employers now supply employees with smartphone devices such as Blackberries. With these devices comes an understanding that employees should respond to emails and phone calls even away from the office. Employees on vacation can no longer use the excuse of having limited Internet connectivity due to smartphones.
While my parents and I took a vacation during my graduate school spring break in March, I immediately noticed the Blackberries in full force. At the airport, the beach, and in the hotel, my parents were both busy responding to emails. At one point while on the beach, I had to finally say, “Dad, we are on a beach and it is snowing back home. Put the Blackberry down for a minute and enjoy this!” To his defense, his organization was in the middle of a large project and needed his expertise. However, is there not always a “big” project at work? Shouldn’t employers allow employees complete away time from work while on vacation?
If employees are unable to psychologically detach from work, severe negative consequences can result. When employees are unable to relax away from the workplace, employee burnout can result. Employees suffering from burnout are more likely to leave his or her job because of a decrease in job satisfaction. Although this may not be surprising, I find the findings a warning to employers. Employees must be able to detach from work during non-work hours to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
What are your thoughts on the impact of cell phones on workload and stress levels away from the office? Can we truly detach from work at home if our cell phones constantly “chime” to let us know we have more emails?