Last week I re-connected with a former employee, she ran a few minutes late for our 7:05 a.m. breakfast appointment. It was fine, as I waited outside the restaurant enjoying a 68 degree late summer morning.
Upon arrival, she apologized and explained why she didn’t call…her phone is MIA; not really lost, just not coming out of hiding. Apparently the battery is drained so forget the prompt suggestion, “Just call your phone.”
Of course, it’s not really a phone; it is a “Smart Phone”…an intelligent device…fashionable.
Yes, it’s for my business.
My journey to hyper-connectedness started with my Blackberry (model 6230 is an “antique” by today’s advanced technology standards; good grief, its all of 6-7 years old).
Yes, I’d heard the stories of people sleeping with their Blackberry and heard the “CrackBerry” jokes. My boss, at the time was thrilled that our management team was going to be connected and responsive.
I can remember (am I starting to sound “old”?) when we would let the old “land line” ring when a call came in during dinner, “They’ll call back.” Once upon a time it was considered rude to sit at the table with privacy curtain of a newspaper cutting you off from others.
Exchange of Information
Communication is about the exchange of information between people; it’s delivering a message whether spoken or written or through behavior. I love helping people become better communicators, people connecting with people.
There is another meaning to communication having to do with “access”. This is the opportunity to approach or connect to get information. No breaking news here, information is available 24/7 which is giving some traditional delivery systems the challenge of their lifetime.
When is 24/7 access too much?
Tim Ferris provides some interesting stats on his blog, “Experiments in Lifestyle Design” around e-mail addiction and information overload. Consider,
66% of people read email seven days a week and expect to receive a response the same day
61% continue to check email while on vacation
56% have anxiety if they can’t access email
“CrackBerry” was the official winner of the 2006 Word-of-the-Year as selected by the editorial staff of Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Blackberry addiction has been labeled “similar to drugs” in a study performed by Rutgers University; millions of users are now able unable to go more than five minutes without checking e-mail.
According to online surveys of more than 4,000 people, conducted jointly by AOL and the Opinion Research Corporation and reported in 2005:
41% of Americans check e-mail first thing in the morning
- 18% check e-mail right after dinner
- 14% check e-mail right when they get home from work
- 14% check e-mail right before they go to bed
- 40% have checked their e-mail in the middle of the night
More than one in four (26%) say they can’t go more than two to three days without checking email, and they check it everywhere:
- In bed – 23%
- In class – 12%
- In business meetings – 8%
- At the beach or pool – 6%
- In the bathroom – 4%
- While driving – 4%
So, how you doing…where does your behavior fit in?
The new “overtime”?
A recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times tells about a Police Sergeant suing for compensation due to his off-duty time spent working on his Blackberry.
Sgt. Jeffrey Allen’s job had him on an electronic leash of sorts.
Even when he was off duty, Allen says, he performed work on his department-issued BlackBerry. Now he wants to get paid for the off-duty time he spent on the device.
Allen has sued the city in federal court, seeking overtime pay for up to two years. His lawsuit, filed earlier this year, seeks OT for similarly situated officers, too.
“Over a period of years, I am confident there are hundreds of hours,” said Paul Geiger, one of his attorneys.
Allen was issued a BlackBerry while he was in the gang-investigations unit. “These guys, regardless of rank, are spending in some cases hours on the phone dealing with search-warrant issues and calls from supervisors about cases — and they’re working when it’s not their tour of duty,” Geiger said.
“We have reached a point in society where it’s very easy to get a whole lot of unpaid work from employees just by the use of these devices,” Geiger said. “I want people to get paid for the work they do.”
Who’s been sleepin’ in my bed?
The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world by conducting public opinion polling and social science research.
Their recent report on Millennials provides interesting information on cell phone use. The line between work life and personal life is being blurred with each generation, with each new device. Millennials are being called the first “always-connected” generation in history. According to the report:
Millennials are more likely than older Americans to treat their cell phones as a necessary and important appendage. Many even bring their cell phones to bed. A majority (57%) of the public has placed their cell phone on or right next to their bed while sleeping. (Page 39)
What’s the price of “always connected”?
In 1992, the United Nations declared stress the “20th Century epidemic.”
In our fast-paced society, where information overload is common place and each day involves hundreds of decisions and interruptions, stress finds a fertile field. Perhaps nowhere is the rise in stress more real than your workplace.
An article on Bank of America’s Small Business website suggests,
Stress-induced health issues, absenteeism, employee turnover, and lower productivity cost our economy an estimated $300 million a year. On average, according to data from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, adults in the United States work longer hours and take less vacation than workers in any other industrialized nation. Perhaps then, it’s no surprise that a recent study of 2,500 American workers by CareerBuilder.com found that more than three out of four-77 percent-feel overworked and burned-out at their jobs.
What is the cost in your life of being “always connected”?
What are we afraid of?
One of my coaching exercises “Next Level Journey” delivers this powerful truth about what hinders sustained success. The limitations become a box of sorts which is…
Ancient behavior that hinders future success due to fear-based emotions.
Work that backwards and we see how “fear” drives old behaviors, which hinder performance and success.
Here’s the question: What fear drives this need to be connected 24/7?
Leaving breakfast, my friend suggested she may not replace her “Smart Phone” opting out for “just a cell phone”. Why? She’s enjoying the freedom.
What do you think? How do you manage the expectation to be connected 24/7?
Please comment…I’d love to hear from you.