Forget 40 Hours. The New Normal Is A 72-Hour Work Week

September 29, 2013  |  

Did you realize your smartphone may be making you work longer hours?

According to a new study, “Always On Never Done” by the Center for Creative Leadership, workers who use a smartphone for work are connected to the office an average 13.5 to 18.5 hours per day. On the other hand, those who don’t use a smartphone for work are connected to the office an average eight to 10 hours per day. Smartphone-equipped workers interact with their office work 72 hours per week (including weekends), reports Business Insider.

Since you are using a smartphone for work, your clients, co-workers and boss assume you are always available. “In today’s world, the expectation is that when a question comes up, you’ll answer it within 30 minutes, whether it’s 8:00 at night, or 6 a.m.,” organizational consultant Ed Muzio, author of Make Work Great, tells Business Insider.

Globalization also plays a role, as more workers are interacting with colleagues across the world on what has become a 24-hour business cycle, notes Business Insider.

According to experts, since it is rare to find a good-paying, full-time job that only requires a 40-hour workweek, workers tend to accept 24/7 connectivity as the norm in today’s workplace. Still, they point out that companies that take advantage of such policies usually have more turnover and lower job satisfaction rates.

“In addition to the stress and burnout from work, they feel like they don’t have any down time with their friends or family, and they start to resent their employer,” Peggy Klaus, author of Soft Skills: Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They’d Learned Sooner, tells the website.

According to a separate study by the American Psychological Association, more than a third of workers said communication technology increases their workload, and makes it more difficult to stop thinking about work or take a break from work.

And when people find themselves connected around the clock, it can lessen returns in worker output. “After a certain point, you’re just not as effective,” Muzio says.

Connected workers generally had just three hours per day in which they weren’t sleeping, working, or checking in with the office found the CCL report.  And more than half of consumers say they check their phone while lying in bed, before they go to sleep, after they wake up, and even in the middle of the night.

All of this leads to higher stress at home and less family time, 12 percent of executives regularly step away from dinner and other family gatherings to deal with business calls and other work issues, and 41 percent of executives do so occasionally, according to a study released last year by Forbes Insights.

Believe it or not, always checking a smartphone causes neurological changes. Once your brain is in the habit of looking at a small screen for updates every few minutes, when it’s unable to do so, it begins to activate neurotransmitters associated with anxiety and stress, Larry Rosen, author of iDisorder: Understanding our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us, tells Business Insider.

“For your own health, you need to set up boundaries and limits,” Rosen says. “You’re modeling the behavior up to your boss and down to your kids, and setting yourself up for a lifetime of anxiety.”

How often are you checking your smartphone?

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