Do you check your work emails when you're on holiday? Do you call your colleagues to ask what's happening in the office even on a day off? I do. When I see no signal on my mobile phone in a busy shopping centre or no wi-fi in the hotel by the beach, I get anxious. Yes, I'm addicted to work.
Technology fuels our need to stay connected all the time.Portable gadgets allow us to work from home, free from the nine-to-five routine endured by our parents, but they also make it more difficult for us to relax and recharge our batteries.
Indeed, not all employers want us to be connected all the time. German car maker Daimler, for example, has offered to automatically delete emails sent to employees while they're on holiday. The sender of the email receives a message asking them to get in touch with another employee who's on duty, or to re-send the message at a later date.
Does the sender get offended? No, says the company spokesman Oliver Wihofszki. According to him: "The response is basically 99% positive, because everybody says, 'that's a real nice thing, I would love to have that too.'"
Dr Christine Grant is an occupational psychologist at Coventry University in Britain. She's been studying workers' inability to relax when off duty. She says: "In my research I found a number of people who were burnt outbecause they were travelling with technology all the time, no matter what time zone they were in."
Employers and employees alike are realising that you're more productive if you get the work-life balance right.
An American app developer has been working hard on just that. He was worried about spending too much time on his smartphone, so he created an app to monitor his usage. The app warns him if he goes beyond a certain limit.
Perhaps we should all take some time out to consider whether we're addicted to work, addicted to technology, or both. It's good to switch off once in a while.
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