If you’re old enough to remember when MTV was to blame for our short attention spans, and not Facebook or Twitter, you probably also remember a time when the work day had a concrete beginning and end. Unless you were a CEO, or a head of state, you likely had whole weekends off, and probably most evenings as well. Not these days — and some people are blaming the very technology that was supposed to liberate us from the office in the first place.
“[T]he 21st century business landscape knows no boundaries or limitations,” writes Colette McIntyre at TheJaneDough. “Thanks to the smartphone, which has placed an entire office’s worth of gadgetry into back pockets and purses, users are always in reach.”
How in reach? Nielsen reports that 74 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds have smartphones, and while this technology means that we no longer have to linger in the office to finish up our days, breaking the ties that bind workers to the office comes with a price: a workday that, in theory, never ends.
The popular response to this sort of information is to say that workers will have to be tougher about drawing lines between their personal and their work lives. But McIntyre quotes a recent survey by B2B agency Gyro, which found that only 2 percent of respondents never work weekends or nights, which would indicate that working at all hours is the new normal. And in tough economic times, it takes more than character and emotional fortitude to be the worker who says no and shuts off his phone.
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