Cell phones, pagers, laptops, PDAs, wireless networking devices, and broadband Internet connections continually link thousands of IT professionals to the workplace. But is this perpetual link a good thing? Apparently not, according to the results of our recent Pervasive Workplace survey. Here’s what over 3,900 TechRepublic members had to say about their working conditions.
A little background
To help put our survey sample in perspective, we asked respondents how long they have worked in IT. Tab 1 in Figure A shows that the majority of respondents (59 percent) have worked in the IT industry between one and 10 years.
Understaffed, overworked, and underpaid
Working more than 40 hours per week was clearly the trend among our respondents. Tab 2 in Figure A shows that 81 percent of respondents reported working between 40 and 60 hours each week. When asked how they were compensated for their work over 40 hours, the majority of members (56 percent) said they were not compensated at all (see Tab 3 in Figure A). This is most likely due to the large number of salaried IT workers.
So why are IT professionals working such long hours? A large number of our respondents (40 percent) report that their organization is understaffed, while 18 percent believe their management does not understand how much time tasks take to complete (see Tab 4 in Figure A).
The majority of IT pros also work outside the office
As we mentioned earlier, it’s now easier than ever for IT professionals to work from home. Our survey shows that 64 percent of respondents work from home at least one hour a week, with 11 percent working more than 10 hours a week from home (see Tab 5 in Figure A).
Being on call is often one reason techs work from home, and 31 percent of respondents reported being on call for more than nine months a year (see Tab 6 in Figure A).Another significant find was that 77 percent of respondents reported carrying a communication device to remain in contact with the office outside of regular work hours (see Tab 7 in Figure A).
Professional time vs. personal time: A balancing act
Tab 8 in Figure B shows that 67 percent of respondents believe they work too much. Many of our respondents reported that this feeling of being overworked is compounded by a disparity between their personal and professional lives. A significant number or respondents (38 percent) believe their time is rarely balanced (see Tab 9 in Figure B).
A majority of our members (81 percent) also reported that this unevenness causes stress in either their personal lives, private lives, or both (see Tab 10 in Figure B). Tab 12 in Figure B shows that 77 percent of respondents feel that being successful in their job requires them to work more than 40 hours per week.
These statistics reinforce the idea that techs believe they are overworked. But is this situation forced upon them or is it self-imposed? It would seem from the results above that IT pros desire more time away from work. However, this was not the case with the majority of our respondents. When asked whether they would rather have a $5,000 increase in base salary or an extra two weeks of vacation, 46 percent chose the money (see Tab 11 in Figure B). Perhaps free time is not that important after all.
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.