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Work life, personal life and the smartphone

Work life, personal life and the smartphone
All companies examine ways to increase productivity, and many find ways to do that while easing the pressure on their employees at the same time. While that may seem oxymoronic in the current economic environment, companies that are not afraid to think outside the box have some very unusual ideas to achieve such goals.

Not surprisingly, the smartphone is part of that equation. The “always-on” environment we live in does not always result in an increase of productivity. That is why Atos, an information technology company, will be phasing out all emails amongst employees by the end of 2013. Daimler, the quintessential automaker, will enable employees to have all incoming emails automatically deleted while they are on vacation at the beginning of the New Year. The sender will get an auto-reply instructing them where to redirect the message.

Sam Chapman is the CEO of Empower Public Relations in Chicago, after becoming so hooked on his BlackBerry that he was checking his device when no notifications were coming in, began to instruct his company of 20 employees to start turning off their devices from 6pm to 6am during the week, and altogether during the weekend for all work-related uses. The policy applies even while traveling.

The stress levels are rising for employees. The Pew Research Center conducted a study covering 2,254 adults with cell phones and found the 44% slept with the device at their bedside. 67% experienced “phantom rings,” thinking their device provided some type of notification when nothing happened. 37% of those studied said they could live without their devices entirely, which is up from 29% in 2006.

Chapman contends that productivity within his company has increased since adopting the new policy. However, such a solution is clearly easier said than done for many companies. Start-up firms trying to work with new clients are an example of such circumstances.

As companies determine what the best course is for them, as the technology continues to evolve and we continue to demand more from it, the best course of action, regardless of whoaddicted we may be to our “CrackBerry” or “iDevice,” will be what each person chooses. It is pretty obvious we are not going to be giving up on the technology.

source: The New York Times

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