The Never-End Workweek: How Email, Smartphones Kill Our Free Time

 
 
By Corinne Bernstein  |  Posted 2012-07-27
 
 
 

The Lure of Email

Not surprisingly, email is the most common tool employees can access outside the office, and it seems to be addicting. Workers can't seem to pass up the urge to check their business email early in the morning. The study showed that one in five log into their email by 7 a.m. What's more, 60 percent of workers check their email before 8:30 in the morning, and 60 percent check it after 6:30 in the evening.

The Lure of Email

Long Days Journey

Typical workers are on duty for a good deal of their working hours. On average, respondents begin checking their work email at 7:42 a.m., get to the office at 8:18 a.m., leave the office at 5:48 p.m. and stop working for the day at 7:19 p.m.

Long Days Journey

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Bosses may not realize how much time their teams are putting in. While employers thought that their employees are working an average of 55 minutes a day away from the office, employees actually clock a mean of 46 minutes of extra work before they even reach their desks in the morning.

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Extending a Long Day at the Office

Workers in all countries surveyed spend between 9 and 10 hours in the office and 11 and 12 hours checking email. However, there are some regional differences as to when and where those hours are clocked.

Extending a Long Day at the Office

Having the Right Tools

Nearly three-fourths of the employers give their employees the tools they need to "get their jobs done wherever they are, but only 11 percent of the employees" have access to "enough tools to completely carry out their roles remotely," according to the study. Mozy's Robinson points to a correlation between employees being given access to tools and their willingness to work outside the 9-to-5 confines. Respondents in Germany were the least likely to been given "remote access working tools" and were also the most likely not to check their email after 5 p.m.

Having the Right Tools

OK to Arrive Late?

The study showed that, on average, employees can arrive at work as much as 32 minutes late before their employers started thinking they are being taken advantage of. Attitudes toward lateness vary in different countries. "British bosses offered the least flexibility, wanting employees at their desks no later than 24 minutes after they were due to start, while U.S. employers were the most tolerant of late arrivals, forgiving staff for being 37 minutes late, on average. German bosses were most likely to demand absolute punctuality with 40 percent requiring on-the-dot attendance," according to the study.

OK to Arrive Late?

Homework

In addition to letting workers start later, employers are more open to telecommuting. The average employer allows its staff to work from home for a quarter of the business week.

Homework

Work-Life Balance

With workers starting earlier and finishing later than ever, employers are more lenient than ever before about employees taking care of personal tasks during business hours. The top non-work tasks that employers feel are OK to do during work hours include leaving early for the doctor or dentist, making personal phone calls, taking coffee breaks, chatting with colleagues, sending a few personal emails and taking a long lunch.

Work-Life Balance

Rocket Fuel