The ever-present nature of technology is making it increasingly difficult for professionals to maintain a good work-life balance, a survey has shown. The survey, commissioned by tech company Thumbtel, reveals that 6 out of 10 full time workers, aged between 35 and 34 feel that they are experiencing ‘smartphone fatigue’ created by the demands of inbound calls, text messages, alerts, notifications and emails, on their mobile devices.
A further 63% of those surveyed agreed that smartphones are responsible for creating a work/life imbalance, with just over half (53%) of the group agreeing that they never fully ‘switch off’ from work, due to their smartphones and 56% saying they regularly receive work related calls that interrupt valuable personal time, such as holidays, weekends or evenings.
Senior managers and professionals are at the top of the list when it comes to those who claim to be regularly interrupted by work calls in their personal time, with 71.3% saying they face disruptions on a regular basis.
With 73% of respondents confirming that they own just one mobile handset, it creates difficulties in splitting business and personal calls. More than half (55%) say they have answered a work call, believing it to be a personal call. While a quarter (25%) of respondents are juggling two or more phones, possibly in an attempt to manage work and home calls on separate devices.
“It’s clear that there’s an issue relating to the pressures of managing work and home calls from smartphones with 4 out of 10 people agreeing that they never fully switch off from work due to their smartphones,” says Andy Munarriz, CEO of Thumbtel.
65% senior managers agreed that they are experiencing ‘smartphone fatigue’, due to the demands of calls, texts, emails and notifications. In fact, almost 7 out of 10 (65%) senior managers believe that smartphones are responsible for work-life imbalance.
Mr Munarriz, whose firm produces Another Number, an app they believe solves this issue by allowing users to have multiple phone numbers on the same phone, believes that being able to turn off your work number is the solution “You can easily manage inbound calls so you receive the calls you want, when you want, and regain control of your communications,” he says. Others may take actions such as turning off work email accounts on their phone out of hours.
Another survey, commissioned by PagerDuty, an IT firm, shows how far-reaching the impact of today’s ‘always-on’ culture is. Nearly all (94 per cent) of those questioned across the three countries said that being responsible for the management of digital services impacted their family lives. The same number (94.5 per cent) said that personal life and sleep-interruptions when on call impacted their work productivity. One in four (25 per cent) went as far as saying that a poor work-life balance made them more likely to search for new roles.
Steve Barrett, country manager for the UK and Ireland at PagerDuty says something must be done: “This always-on, always-available world has become the norm for IT professionals around the globe. But it’s taking a toll on the employees who have to drop everything to address problems.” Unless they can maintain a healthy work-life balance, he says, IT professionals are either unable to perform to the best of their ability or choose to walk away. “It’s time for companies to take more responsibility over the welfare of their technical and operational teams to help workers avoid burn-out.”