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.


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?