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Technology adds stress and new demands to networked workers

Although the Internet, e-mail, cell phones, and BlackBerries have made certain business functions easier, a new study reports that working Americans say there are tradeoffs to always being connected.

Although the Internet, e-mail, cell phones, and BlackBerries have made certain business functions easier, such as telecommuting and e-mailing contacts around the world, working Americans note that there are tradeoffs to technology.

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According to a new Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project study, many workers say information and communications technology (ICT) has added new stress and demands to their lives because they're always connected even when they aren't at the office.

Here are some of the negative impacts of ICTs cited in the study:

  • 46% say ICTs increase demands that they work more hours.
  • 48% say ICTs increase the level of stress in their job.
  • 49% say ICTs make it harder for them to disconnect from their work when they are at home and on the weekends.
  • 63% of workers who own BlackBerries and PDA feel as though gadgets and connectivity increase demands that they work more hours; 30% feel these demands have increased "a lot."
  • 18% of working Americans say they do job-related tasks at home almost daily.
  • 45% of employed Americans do at least some work from home.

The percentage of working Americans that check their e-mail outside of working hours has greatly increased in the past six years. Here are three notable stats:

  • 50% of employed e-mail users say they check their work-related e-mail on the weekends.
  • 46% of employed e-mail users say they check e-mail when they take a sick day.
  • 34% of employed e-mail users say they will at least occasionally check e-mail while on vacation.

How closely do these stats reflect your experience? Do you feel more pressure to stay connected to work than you did five years ago? If so, do you think the benefits of increased connectivity outweigh the potential drawbacks?

About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

1 comments
QBG
QBG

I believe that unless your a high level executive, in a management position or the head of some type of important project at work I do not see the point of being connected 24/7. And even if your in one of the mentioned positions it depends on what type of work it is. I would demand an employee put a 100% of what they do when they are in the office during the normal work hours. If they are not or need to bring work home I would suggest they take a time management course. In reference to the technological aspect of the report. I wouldn't work more unless they were paying me for my time and I would advise professional help if work related technology is giving you stress. In relation to check emails outside of work. I never do that because I do not have access to my email outside of work. Even if I did I would never check it especially if I was sick or on vacation. And if it's the weekend? Then again you need a time management course if you need the weekend to catch up on your email. Just my 2 cents.