Over-thinking Blackberries, Treos and the like

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.

TOPICS: Mobility

blackberry_1.jpgThis 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...

Topic: Mobility

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  • Addiction

    Nice article. (not sarcasm)

    I'm addicted to caffeine, so maybe I should blame Pepsi for making Mountain Dew so dang tasty that I drink it all the time and don't get any sleep. I mean, it can't be my fault I don't have any self control! (that was sarcasm, for those of you who didn't catch that)
  • Advantages of disconnection

    Sometimes one must be out of traffic to recognize a traffic circle.

    I'll assert that receiving information is a task in itself, and should receive appropriate time.
    And that most people cannot think thoroughly and inventively with constant variable distractions. Think about reading in a strobe light with loud music starting up at random intervals.

    For some jobs and at some times, the most important part of a communications device is the Off switch. It will be turned back on, but only after a sufficiency of careful consideration and further pauses for those tenuous connections that lead to invention.

    Some jobs do not require hours of quiet thought. But some jobs do, and the individual doing the work should be able to decide whether constant disruption is more worthwhile than the alternative.

    Sometimes, in fact, the existence of the Off switch is an improvement over office environments.
    Anton Philidor
  • Addiction? Why not blame ....

    Why not blame Jack Daniels for a Liquor Heads addiction to bad whiskey?

    Heres the thing, years (decades?) ago I read an interview where a CEO/President/Official of some company stated if an executive wanted to work for him the executive needed a phone installed in their bathroom. This official wanetd access to his employee no matter the conditions.

    Cell phones, Blackberries, sic, have only given some employers what they have always wanted, 24/7 access.

    Much more reciently I have seen articles, read interviews, seen reports with 20-somethings who gladly go along with the constant connectivity. They seem to have no problem with work being their life. I, on the other hand, see work as the means of supporting my life. And I'm sure there's a whole psychology and/or pathology behind these people who gladly give their lives over to their employers.

    If someone wants me to be a slave their going to have to subdue me and put me in chains, I won't go willingly.
  • Nothing has changed ...

    ... except the technology. Twenty years ago, most interviews for salaried positions included the prospective employer saying that the average employee worked a 50-hour week. The job-hungry person being interviewed accepted that as the norm and, if hired, worked in the office until 6:00pm or later most evenings to get his 50 hours in. Today, that same employee is provided a cell phone/PDA (or is at least reimbursed for his work-related minutes) and he leaves before 5:30pm most evenings.

    Oh, employers still get their 50 hours per week out of their employees but somehow reading e-mail while sitting in front of the TV with the family around seems a lot less intrusive than sitting in the office in a suit and tie reading that same e-mail -- and there is no one looking over your shoulder telling you you HAVE TO read that e-mail.

    As for those Type A individuals who work 60-80 hours per week. They were around 20 years ago and they are still around today. The problem with them is that no employer, I repeat, NO EMPLOYER will object to an employee's willingness to work overtime for free.

    These workers either have no home life or they end up losing what home life they have. The technology makes it easier for them to justify the hours they put in but the technology is not to blame for their choices.
    M Wagner