When 'Work Anywhere' Becomes 'Work Everywhere'

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-05-10 Print this article Print

The "work anywhere" culture that has emerged from readily available wireless connectivity and handheld mobile devices is typically praised across the board by workers--who love their newfound freedom to unchain themselves from their cubicles--and employers--who can lure recruits with promises of a relaxed work environment while keeping tabs on their tasks from afar.

Yet as "work anywhere" has translated for many to "work everywhere," a backlash seems inevitable. 38 percent of IT professionals in a poll released on May 9 by Dice, a tech job board, said while Blackberrys and mobile devices have allowed them to stay connected, they find themselves doing work-related tasks "all of the time."

Twenty-three percent of respondents had better things to say about working wirelessly, calling it "really quite helpful when trying to juggle work and home/family life." Twenty-six percent had taken the matter in their own hands, however, setting boundaries as to when they were willing and not willing to engage in work-related tasks.

But not all workers in computer-related professions leverage complaints with the wireless work place. Although they acknowledged that these handheld devices had eroded the boundaries between their office and outside-work lives, 83 percent of computer workers in a survey released by Lexmark, a printing company, in December 2006 said that wireless technology allowed them to be more productive. Eighty percent had said it allowed them greater work flexibility, 70 percent felt it brought them more success in their careers and 64 percent argued that it made their work more rewarding.

Respondents in the Lexmark survey, however, acknowledged the amount to which they themselves had invited work communications into their personal time, with the vast majority (92 percent) admitting they respond to tasks in their off hours, and nearly three-quarters (73 percent) kept their devices on all weekend.

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