Does Your Employer Expect You To Be Always Connected?

Technology has made us all constantly connected to each other. With just a click, we're readily available on email, social networks or text messages. Because of that, employers started to expect their employees to be just as available as the technology made them. Has this happened to you? Or do they understand you need downtime?

Photo by Johan Larsson.

The New York Times addresses this in a recent article that takes a look at worker burnout from on-call behaviour. While a number of companies always expect you be available, some are starting to make the shift towards allowing their employees to truly turn off when they walk out the door. One example they give is of Volkswagen actually forcing some employees to shut down:

At the beginning of 2012, Volkswagen reached an agreement with a small portion of its work force to stop the e-mail server for employees who used BlackBerrys 30 minutes after their shift ended and restore it half an hour before work began the next day.

While employers certainly push employees to be available, it's also a pressure employees put on themselves. We've suggested a few ways of taking care of this, including ways to really stop working when the clock hits 5pm and to just go home. As health psychologist Kelly McGonigal points out in the New York Times article, it's also about your own choices and addiction. Technology isn't a problem for everyone:

"It's bad if it's interfering with your quality of life or getting you in trouble," she said. The most important thing is to pay attention to when you reach to check e-mails or texts or get on social networking sites - something most people do without even thinking.

All that said, sometimes it's out of your control and your boss is pushing you to be available all the time. On-call nights used to not mean anything to people working in the corporate world, but now it seems like it's an expected behaviour across all types of disciplines. Tell us your experience in the comments below.

The Workplace Benefits of Being Out of Touch [New York Times]


Comments

    That's funny. My employeer won't even allow us to open a port in the firewall to allow us to connect our software (installed at client sites) to return bug reports so we can provide better customer support...makes me want to cry.

    I asked if I could connect in via VPN while my wife was in hospital giving birth so I could work out side of normal hours (and be with her) and that was rejected !!! (And not because I should have been spending time with my wife and new baby!!!)

    Out of office hours, no, not at all.
    I work remotely nearly all work days as a dev. Skype is our main voice comms method and I am logged in all day. I am expected to drop what I am doing and talk at any length at any point during work hours. That (dis)courtesy is not extended vice versa. This is an office culture phenomenon, not a workplace policy.

    Being the sole IT support for the company i am expected to be switched on just in case there is an emergeny but they dont expect me to help with petty things outside of my normal hours... or should i say I ignore petty requests after hours

Join the discussion!