Smartphones Disrupt Vacations, Sleep - InformationWeek
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Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
4/6/2011
02:52 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Smartphones Disrupt Vacations, Sleep

Motorola published the results of a study about how mobile professionals use their devices to manage -- or mismanage -- their work/life balance.

Motorola Mobility recently surveyed more than 1,000 Americans to gauge how they are using their mobile devices. Motorola was curious to see what activities ranked the highest, as well as when those activities are most likely completed. The results? Let's just say that a lot of us have a serious device addiction issue.

Motorola states, "Work hard, play hard. Many Americans use this phrase to sum up their approach to balancing their professional and personal lives. However, in reality, it is becoming increasingly difficult to disconnect."

Here's what Motorola found:

Almost half of those polled were woken up in the middle of the night because their cell phone received a work-related call, email, or text message. I don't know about you, but I silence most alerts for my device at night. I receive email 24/7, but the only thing I want waking me up in the middle night is a call telling me my house is on fire.

Speaking about email, 53% of respondents admitted to checking their work email while on vacation. It can be hard to avoid, no doubt, if it's constantly pinging your device. About one in seven people, or 14%, have sent work emails from bed (guilty). Embarrassingly, 15% of respondents said they've accidentally emailed or texted a personal note to a coworker -- and worse, to clients and customers. That could get ugly really quick.

More than half of respondents said that they "friend" their coworkers on social networking sites. Looking at my own profiles, I see a large number of colleagues and/or business associates in my friends lists, so I am guilty of this one, too.

Bosses and managers should take note of this next one. Chances are that three of the 10 people in the meeting you conduct are using their smartphone to "escape" the meeting. What are they doing? They are texting, playing games, listening to music (?!?), and watching videos instead of paying attention. Should you ban them from meetings? Some have resorted to that.

Last, Motorola's survey found that 20% of professionals use their smartphones to conduct business while drinking after the work day is over and/or on the weekend. Based on my experiences at the numerous events I attend each year, I'd say 20% is pretty low.

Some ideas to reduce these percentages:

Silence or turn off your phone at night to avoid 3 a.m. wake-up calls. Turn the email feature of your smartphone off while on vacation. Only send work emails from bed when sick. Also, be really careful about managing contact lists and, if possible, separate work from personal messages on your device to avoid embarrassing goofs. Bosses, don't let employees bring smartphones to meetings. Managers (or IT) might want to set some policies in place that govern acceptable use of company-issued devices and when/how they are used after hours (if they haven't already).


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