A new survey has revealed that Australians are more tethered to their devices than ever before, relying on them to get more work done out of office hours. However, experts have warned this addiction is coming at a price, with serious repercussions on personal relationships and health.
Results of the Good Technology study include:
88% of respondents admit to working outside of regular hours on their mobile device
41% said they first check their phone on or before 7am, with almost half indicating they check their phone for messages as soon as they wake, even on weekends
35% check their phone and email in bed
32% last check their phone at 10pm or later
39% said they need to use their mobile device outside of regular hours to keep on top of their workload, while only 4% said it was to impress their boss
Of those in relationships, 24% indicated they have had rows with their partner about working on their mobile outside of work hours, while 1.4% admitted to having broken up with a partner because of their device usage
20% admit to taking work calls or answering emails on a family day out
Jim Watson, vice president and corporate general manager at Good Technology APAC, commented on the results: “We are truly living in the connected age as mobile devices like phones and tablets become indispensible tools to manage our professional and personal lives.”
“As our reliance on mobility continues to grow, there will be an increased need for companies and individuals to manage this more effectively. For example, ensuring that sensitive company information is kept secure, while still giving employees the freedom to use their mobile devices the way they want to be productive and connected in both their professional and personal lives. No-one wants to lose all their family photos because the corporate IT department need to wipe the device due to a security scare.”
“At a more personal level, it is important for workers to feel in control and not let their mobile rule them. The technology exists to enhance productivity and enable greater flexibility between work and personal life - not cause us to work all the time. Mobility has ‘unchained us’ from the office so that we can all be productive and connect from anywhere, anytime—whether that’s at home, in the office, while waiting for your coffee at the shop or taking in a child’s cricket game. The idea is to be able to enjoy more of life by being mobile.”
The Good Technology survey comes on the back of another study from University College London indicating those who work three hours or more extra per day have a 60% higher risk of heart disease.
"This study raises further questions about how our working lives can influence our risk of heart disease,” Cathy Ross, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation said.
"In many ways it confirms what we as occupational health doctors already know – that work/life balance plays a vital role in well-being,” Dr. John Challenor, from the Society of Occupational Medicine, said. “Employers and patients need to be aware of all of the risk factors for coronary heart disease and should consider overtime as one factor that may lead to a number of medical conditions."
And there are plenty of non-fatal risks of smartphone overuse, the CSP warned.
Physiotherapists are seeing an increase in neck strain that they’re blaming on the poor posture while using smartphones and other mobile devices.
“A healthy workforce is a productive one, so businesses that fail to invest in the wellbeing of their staff are pouring money down the drain,” Dr. Helena Johnson, chair of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said. “Sickness absence can be devastating for the individual and very expensive for the employer,” Johnson added.
She suggested regularly checking with staff about their workload and whether they’re working from home, as well as advising staff on healthy use of mobile devices. Users should be taking frequent breaks to stretch their neck and back, and holding their phone higher to keep their neck in alignment with their spine, she said.
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