Over-thinking Blackberries, Treos and the like

Summary:This morning's over-thinking award goes to the  Reuters story, "Do BlackBerrys help or harm?" First, and a minor point, Blackberry, also known as Crackberry, is not the only handheld device, but like the iPod has come to represent its category.

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This morning's over-thinking award goes to the  Reuters story, "Do BlackBerrys help or harm?" First, and a minor point, Blackberry, also known as Crackberry, is not the only handheld device, but like the iPod has come to represent its category. More irritating is the handwringing over whether always-on connectivity is harmful, an addiction that causes type A workers to fall into a maelstrom of email, phone calls and Web surfing, neglecting family, appearance and health, and becoming a driving hazard, steering with a knee on the wheel while reading email. I exaggerate a bit, but the vast majority of users, who admit that they spend too much time wired into their handhelds or laptops, believe that they benefit from the arrangement, according to at least two sources--common sense and a study by executive recruitment firm Korn/Ferry International.

Now to the highlight of the story. According to Gayle Porter, a Rutgers University School of Business management professor, workers "suffering" from work-induced tech addiction could potentially sue their employers. With potential litigation in the air, will employers start screening workers before provisioning handhelds and laptops to determine if they are workaholics and a legal risk?

Certainly a work/life balance is important. The reality is that increased collaboration and always on access means that the pace of work is escalating. It's as if the speed limit were raised from 55 mph to 75 mph, and companies expect workers to meet or exceed the upper limit. A faster pace doesn't necessarily mean more work; it can mean more productive work and faster results, especially if a company has good policies around collaboration, such as not copying everyone on every email. However, working at 50 mph in an environment moving at 75 mph isn't going to be sufficient to stay in synch with the pace of business. Does one have to be addicted to a mobile device to increase the velocity of business? No, but some individuals will claim that the device made their life miserable and lay the blame somewhere...
 

Topics: Mobility

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