24 Aug, 2011

Blackberry Blues

Blackberries are ruining our holidays, our relationships and impacting work life balance according to research from Spring Technology. The specialists in streamlined IT recruitment polled 1000 workers on their attitudes to checking emails on holiday and outside work.

We may still dream of a fortnight relaxing on a secluded beach with loved ones, but after rolling out our towel and lathering on the sun cream, what’s the first thing we do? Reach for the Blackberry, apparently, as almost a quarter of people (24{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e}) confess to checking their work emails once or more a day while on holiday.

Employees may swap the strip lighting and corporate art for sunshine and an ocean view, but many continue to work while they’re supposed to be on holiday. The ‘worliday’ phenomenon is creating tension in our personal lives, as 70 per cent agree that checking work emails while on holiday damages relationships.

Men and women alike are frustrated as romantic moments are ruined by the familiar ping of a smartphone. If your partner is a Yorkshire lass, you’re in real trouble, according to the research. Over a third of respondents in the region (39{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e}) felt particularly strongly that the habit could ruin relationships.

Personal relationships may not be the only ones under strain. Responding to emails while on holiday can also create tensions with work colleagues.

Richard Protherough, director at Spring Technology says: “Many employees may feel they are just being conscientious, but responding to work emails on holiday can infer a lack of trust in your team. After giving a thorough handover, it’s important to let go and let colleagues deal with any queries.

“Alongside sticky notes and the PC, smartphones have earned their place as a standard piece of office equipment. But smartphone etiquette is still unclear. Employers need to make known their expectations around employees’ smartphone use outside of office hours. For most, smartphones are intended to allow employees to remain productive when travelling between offices, not when lying on the beach.”


Mark, 26 years, a public sector worker from Worcester:

“I’ve become totally used to checking my work emails on holiday. It’s not something I really want to do but I just get on with it. I probably check them at least every other day and certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable ignoring them for a couple of weeks. It’s a bit of a grey area with my employer – they haven’t explicitly told me I need to keep in touch but I have a managerial role so I feel a responsibility to do it.

“I regularly check my work emails at home too and my partner has come to accept it as part of life. It’s not always ideal but I think nowadays people realise work never really stops.”

Credit: onrec.com

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