I was recently sent the link to this article in HR Magazine (“hat-tip” to Neil Bachelor) about the inability of managers to separate work and private lives. The article covers research conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) which found that:
“of the 76% of managers who can use devices including smartphones, laptops or tablets to work, almost half (49%) check their emails just before going to sleep at night and a quarter (24%) check them again on waking before they get out of bed in the morning.”
This is consistent with the research project I did as part of my MSc into over-connected behaviour among smartphone users. This compulsive checking is not great for a number of reasons including lack of rest and recovery during sleep and the crowding out of deep thinking and reflection.
The article is goes on to say that the CMI has done two things to help: 1) launch a free smartphone app and 2) run a competition to find the UK’s most helpful book on management. I was going to be a bit dismissive of the idea of an app to stop you checking your smartphone but I just got an email from my publisher to suggest entering “The Activity Illusion” for the competition…
Instead, I will simply ask whether we can really use more technology to address issues that are 100% about human behaviour. Microsoft and AT&T seem to think we can. If you haven’t already seen the “Really” ad for the Windows phone, check it out here.