Phone addiction proving not so smart for workers



Forget drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. There is a growing concern that many of us are addicted to our smartphones.

Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about that humble little device that among other things, can send emails and texts, give you access to the internet, post messages on social networking sites, remind us that we need to pick up the dry cleaning and catapult odd-looking feathered creatures into solid structures.

Ever since the technology was developed to enable us to connect us globally, we, as a society, have had an expectation that each generation of smartphone would make it easier and more accessible to perform these ‘essential functions’ wherever and whenever we want.

Large corporations have answered our calls and given us these powerful computers that we can conveniently carry in our pockets and handbags.

Unfortunately it’s not all fun and games though. A recent segment on Channel 10’s The Project highlighted that there are far too many of us who are caught up in our work and can’t help but continue to read and send emails and texts well into the night and early hours of the morning on these snazzy gadgets.

For some, it’s quite simply because we don’t have enough working hours in the day to stay on top of things. For others, it’s a way to show your manager or colleagues that you are dedicated to your job and think that it’ll give you an edge over those that aren’t putting in the extra effort. The same can be said about social networking, it has become an addiction for many and we can’t seem to switch off, no matter where we are!

As a result of being connected 24/7, we are increasingly suffering from mental fatigue, exhaustion, eye strain, stress on ourselves and our relationships. These stresses reduce the effectiveness of our immune system which in turn makes us more susceptible to illnesses, and ironically, one of the results of that is lower or lost productivity. Severe cases of these symptoms can eventually lead to burn out, researchers say.

Even though we are constantly reminded by our younger generations that we have to keep up with the times, it is equally important that we set boundaries between work and home/relationships and use smartphones as tools to help control our lives, rather than having them control us. We all need to do a little bit extra at times, but we need to ensure that it doesn’t happen all of the time.

It’s sometimes hard to remember the way we were but here’s something you might like to check out when you are next on your smartphone – an online video clip from the late 70s that provides a touching reminder…

P.S. I’m going to try restricting my phone use to ‘normal hours’ for the next week. I’ll let you know how I get on.

| Social Entrepreneur –

  • I can completely relate to this post Melina! Working in social media means that my iPhone is pretty much an extension of my body. I check it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. As well as all the hours in between!
    I think the lines between ‘work time’ and ‘home time’ are definitely blurring – in such a connected, 24/7 world perhaps soon we will see the demise of ‘9-5 Monday-Friday’ being the standard job?

    • I know Lauren. I think those lines have been blurred for some time! Writing this post made me really think about the amount of time I spend on my phone – checking email, playing games and just surfing…

      This is going to be an interesting week as I work out how to remove my phone from sight from the evening till morning (not sure I can trust myself leaving it lying around) – especially as my alarm clock is, yup, also my phone…