Why can’t we switch off?

Here’s a little something from someone called John Timpson writing in the Daily Telegraph today: “I took my BlackBerry on its first holiday in January 2005 and my wife Alex didn’t like it. “Don’t let that thing ruin our holiday,” she said “I thought you had come here to get away from the office.”

Here’s me on the same subject (extracted from Future Minds).

“A banker acquaintance of mine once spent a day in a car park above a beach in Cornwall because it was the only spot in which he could make mobile contact with his office. His firm had a big deal on and his virtual presence was required. “Where would I have been without my Blackberry?” he said to me later. My response was: “ On holiday with your family taking a break from work and benefiting from the reflection that distance provides”. But his phone proved that he was useful and important. Then again, I’m sure his wife felt rather annoyed by the fact that his entire office had come on holiday with them. He hasn’t spoken to me since we had this conversation, although he does send me emails occasionally. I usually pretend that I’m on a beach and haven’t received them.

It’s happening everywhere. I have a middle-aged female friend (a journalist) that goes to bed with a small electronic device every night. Her husband is fed up and claims it’s ruining their sex life. Her response is that she’s in meetings all day and needs to take a laptop to bed to catch-up with her emails.”

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One Response to Why can’t we switch off?

  1. Max Kaehn says:

    My policy is that if my employer wishes me to keep up on business email when I am not at the office, they need to compensate me for more than 8 hours of work per day. It would be nice to see a stronger cultural trend of pushing back on that, but there would be a giant collective freakout if knowledge workers started organizing into labor unions to exert pressure.

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