It’s Time To “Re-Think Unlimited 24/7 Access To Work”
Having a work phone always switched on, or always having access to your workplace emails can have damaging effects on an employee’s wellbeing, performance improvement and personal life, according to a new study which was presented to the annual conference of the British Psychology Society’s Division of Occupation Psychology.
PHD Student Svenja Schlachter from the University of Surrey conducted meta-analysis into 65 studies which looked into the effects of being available for work outside of normal office hours by using tablets and smartphones to keep in contact via email, skype and telecommuting. This “switched on” state was designed to help employees both be more efficient at work and to have more flexible hours.
The studies, which were mostly undertaken in the United States and North America and included 50,000 plus employees, demonstrated that the ‘switched on’ state was actually having a counterproductive impact on performance as the long hours that employees put in increased stress level, damaged work life balance and was overall detrimental to a person’s wellbeing. The use of technology to create this “24/7 access to work” is a problem according to Schlachter:
“We need to re-think unlimited 24/7 access to work, and manage technology use more wisely and in particular, more actively. Researchers, employers and employees need to work jointly on how to make the use of technologies as beneficial as possible, reducing the negative effects. Otherwise, there is a danger of unintended knock-on effects.”