Mobile Devices – Curse or blessing?
24/7 – permanent availability in our work and private life is daily business thanks to mobile devices. But where does this trend lead to? Some large companies have already met agreements to stop the flood of mails “after work”. A topic that is discussed quite controversial. What are the advantages and disadvantages of permanent accessibility?
Clicking on the net through a variety of articles, reports, opinions, and posts the bandwidth of the arguments is readily apparent. Opponents call too strong mixing of private and professional life as well as diseases as burn out. Employees are not able to enjoy their free time in the evening, on weekends and holidays because they keep on thinking about the job. When the colleagues got used to mails which are answered in the late evening they quickly build up high expectations that sets people under pressure. In this way mailing after work and on weekends very fast becomes a normal part of everyday life. In order to stop this some companies conclude agreements that e.g. regulate a server shut down after work – thus making communication by mail outside of business hours impossible. But outside of business hours inGermanymeans inside business hours in the Asia-Pacific region orAmericaor other parts of the world. What is the real time loss of information if there is a general rule of email traffic?
Here are the real problems of the proponents of communications with colleagues and clients after work coming up: For this group time bans are recognized as patronizing. In this day and age in which at least the knowledge workers are able to work anytime and from any location because of the mobile devices, a wide range of benefits, freedom and autonomy comes along for the employees.
If companies actively commit to flexible working arrangements instead of email ban employees will be able to make their own decision as self-responsible adults. For example spending the afternoon with their kids on the playground and transfer working hours and content to the late night or early morning hours. ‘Work-life flexibility’ and ‘reconcilability of professional and private life’ are the key words here.
Furthermore it could get dangerous, if employees start to use their own hidden gray networks to enable the ‘banned’ communication. When communication takes place via private email, Facebook, Twitter and instant-manager it is impossible to ensure data security and the merging of private and professional life is perfect.
What’s your opinion: Are mobile devices a curse or a blessing?