Learn to log off. Blanket connectivity could be harming our home lives

Learn to log off. Blanket connectivity could be harming our home lives

Being somewhat Web-addicted and frustrated by the moments when we can’t get to the Internet while out and about, the idea of blanket coverage across the UK is naturally very exciting to us at TNW.

But it seems that a little more effort might be required for most people working online if this connected vision of cyber utopia comes to fruition.

According to research carried out by Virgin Media Business, more than half of the UK mobile workers surveyed think that blanket connectivity will shorten their working day, but don’t believe it will help their work-life balance.

The survey queried 2,000 directors and business owners from companies with 100+ employees on 09 July 2012.

With the increase in working from home and being able to log on to company networks from all manner of devices it’s no wonder more of us are working outside of office hours. Remember when you could leave work at the office?

Virgin Media Business says that by the end of 2012, 70% of the UK is expected to have a smart device reliant on mobile connectivity.

It says that because of this trend, employees believe increased mobile coverage would provide a secure link to the office to help access emails more easily (79%) and deal with emergencies more quickly (46%), but 16% don’t think it would increase the likelihood of working from home more often.

Only 16% won’t be working more from home? That’s still a lot of people working off the clock and a majority of people in the survey who appear to be ‘on call’ during their leisure time.

Time out to refresh

Though dedication to a job is to be admired, it is important to have time to rest and recharge for the next day’s work, even if that means just having a little space to think through work-related problems with a bit of distance.

Tony Grace, Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Media Business said, “Mobile connections to the Internet are getting better by the day. Commuters in London can now access WiFi under the streets of the city at multiple stations on the Underground network. In time, we’ll be able to check-in at the office, social networking sites, or simply contact friends and family everywhere we go.”

That’s great for being sociable and catching up, but Grace also notes that there has been an increase in the demand for data and wonders if this may be both social habits and working out of hours.

“As the lines between our work and personal devices blur, the temptation is to never switch off and constantly check emails or work on a document. Because of this 24 hour demand for data on the move, we’ve seen the amount of data consumed on our network jump to 765 billion individual bits of data being transferred every second,” he says.

“Even if we’re shortening our working days by working on the move, it’s actually creating a false economy if we’re constantly fretting over our smartphone throughout the day and night,” says Grace. “The key is getting the balance right and enjoying the reassurance that if we do need to read an important email or deal with an emergency on the move, then we can.”

Let’s hope that Grace was not writing that from his tablet in the middle of the night from home. No doubt some bosses will be delighted with the bonus working hours from their dedicated employees. But as the report here notes, increased access can be a mixed blessing and it’s down to us to take control of how we use it.

Image Credit: Aaron Jacobs

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