Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

Sleeping with your Smartphone

We turn over in bed, kiss our partner goodnight, switch off the lamp, turn back to the bedside table, see the red light bleeping away on the Smartphone, and check it,  illuminating the room from the display screen, wondering:“Who has emailed me?” That the phone is our personal one and we have some new-age urge to keep up to date with emails is one thing, but more often than not, it is the work Smartphone that we are checking. Indeed, the “goodnight honey” could be said to the Smartphone!

Mobile devices were meant to make life easier for us, they were meant to keep those workers who spent time on planes, trains and automobiles in touch with the office. What has happened is that this social benefit (as many organisations call it) has become a ball and chain, as much as a communications device.

Harvard Press Books has published a book titled, “Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work”, aimed at those who cannot resist the temptation to check their phone 24/7. Some years ago I found myself working in a company where the phone was as much a ball and chain as a benefit. Each summer, as part of the senior HR team, I would have to send an email to the entire organisation, reminding those employees with work phones of the corporate requirement to keep their phones on at all time during their summer vacation. I would then duck beneath my desk, praying that employees would not shoot the messenger! A HR colleague and I were the first ones to break with corporate protocol. A complaint from the Controller to the HR Director led to our phones being confiscated, like bikes from naughty boys who do not clean them. The Controller believed that the “naughty boys” would request their bikes back, and he would lay down the law for returning them. The request never came though – we were happy to be relieved of them!

I have a philosophy at work: I don’t check my personal email, facebook or other personal items at work, EVER! My personal life never comes to work and the hours at my desk are work hours. In return, I never check my work email or anything work related in my personal life, EVER. It is a healthy balance that ensures that I give 100% both at work, and in my personal life. In the 21st century, the company that adopts this policy for its staff will be a brave but a forward thinking one.



April 8, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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