Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin have some exciting news for stressed out, overworked employees: using your work phone after hours negatively impacts your work life, home life, social life, and everything in between. All those after-dinner, before-bed emails are wreaking havoc on your productivity and your relationship, all the more reason to unplug after you leave the office.
Led by Dr. Wayne Crawford, assistant professor of management at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Business, the researchers studied 344 married couples who used technological devices such as smartphones and tablets after traditional office hours for work purposes. “There is plenty of research on technology and how it affects employees,” Crawford said in a press release. “We wanted to see if this technology use carried over to affect the spouse negatively at work.”
The survey results were less than shocking: couples who stayed logged into work during family time exhibited lower job satisfaction, lower job performance, and less fulfilling romantic relationships. The study’s results reveal a critical issue for both companies and employees; workers who choose to engage in work activities after hours are risking burnout over being reprimanded by management, yet companies who expect their employees to remain plugged-in after hours are sacrificing employee productivity.
“Whether companies care or don’t care about employees being plugged in,” said Crawford, “those firms need to know that the relationship tension created by their interaction with their employees during non-work hours ultimately leads to work-life trouble.” Technology that enables work to follow the employee everywhere is a lose-lose situation. The results show that instating a finite end to the work day, whenever that may be, is in the best interest of all parties.