Smartphones, tablets and mobiles have resulted in longer working hours, higher stress levels and blurred boundaries between personal and working life, according to a recent large-scale study.
The study found that the digital revolution has had nothing but a negative for the health and happiness of employees. The only clear advantage was to be able to attend events whilst working remotely, although these were only rare events such as family birthdays or school events.
These one-off events were more than outweighed by reduced time spent with the family. Researchers at the University of Surrey examined 65 big studies on the subject, covering the experiences of 50,000 employees. They found that handing out work phones and other gadgets to staff generally came with an expectation that employees were available for work at all times. They also discovered that few companies have clear policies about the limits of contacting staff in their free time.
Modern technology is thought to have led to white-collar employees working an average of a full working day extra each week, and managers up to two days a week more. Family life emerged as the greatest casualty of digital technology, with parents often being distracted or breaking off during the evening, at weekends and on holiday to deal with work emails and calls.
Another impact increasing the stress placed on family life was sleeping habits or lack thereof (find out more here). Sleep is an important part of our daily life and while people need various amounts of sleep, we do all need it. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep can lead to increased illness, irritability, loss in productivity and depending on the job can also be dangerous. Even watching two hours of television in an evening can have an impact on your stress levels.
We all live and have access to multiple devices, and we can all be accessible from anywhere now thanks to the smartphone revolution. Make sure you take the time to fully switch off and enjoy some time away from devices. It will do you some good.