Mobile users: All work and no play? We've all heard about them, perhaps received them: the work-related requests that arrive at 11 p.m. Or 5a.m. Or during a Sunday afternoon at the beach.
Urgent e-mails demand an answer before 8 a.m. Financial budgets need a last-minute late-night review. Client proposals must be finished over the weekend.
The good news? You can do this work from afar. The bad news? You can do this work from afar.
The swelling number of workers who tote smartphones and tablets can connect to work from the car, the kitchen table, a kid's baseball game, a remote island or 30,000 feet in the air.
The skyrocketing use of mobile devices is upending much of what we know and experience in our work lives. Just as the desktop computer made time sheets, purchase orders and other physical documents virtually obsolete, mobile-based programs and cloud computing will make working solely at one desktop computer seem as outdated as tapping away at a typewriter.
Indeed, while media, business and our greater culture are adapting to the opportunities and challenges of a digital lifestyle, users are going all mobile all the time, leaving the traditional Web and the desktop world in the technological dust.
But this constant access comes at a cost: Never clocking out has become so widespread that it has fueled a heated national debate on whether it is a benefit or detriment to society.
Nearly two-thirds of full-time workers own smartphones, up from 48% just two years ago, according to the Pew Research Center. One-third own a tablet , up from 12%.
The exploding use of these devices -- and connected employees never calling it a day -- has created a workplace domino effect: If one person answers the boss's e-mail after hours, others feel compelled to as well.
"There's an arms-race component to this," says Lee Rainie, who directs the Pew Research Center's ongoing study of technology's social impact. If someone is "sucking up to the boss at midnight, (others think) 'I've got to make sure I say something, too.'"
The rise of the "Bring Your Own Device" workplace -- in which employees put company applications on personal gadgets -- has further fueled the on-all-the-time work trend. The majority of U.S. companies have some form of a BYOD program, according to a report by Samsung Mobile and research group IDG. (continued...)
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