“Crackberries” are causing increased stress

New Guidelines or “WETiquette” Needed for Technology

Employers need to reconsider how workers should use technology on the job, according to a Canadian work-life balance expert.

The extensive use of e-mail, cell phones, laptops, PDAs and Blackberries, (otherwise known as work extension technology or WET), has blurred the healthy boundaries between work and life, according to Dr. Linda Duxbury, Professor of the School of Business at Carleton University in Ottawa. Dr. Duxbury is now conducting a large study on the dangerous impact of technology on employees (i.e. does it help employees cope or lead to increased workloads), as well as the impact it has on their relationships with life partners, peers and subordinates.

“While technology has increased the ability to work from home and outside of regular hours, it has also increased the expectation that you do so,” said Dr. Duxbury. “This makes balance very complicated… Anytime, anywhere, immediate answers expected. After hours, during business travel, Sunday and Friday nights—you are now expected to use this time to return voice mails and e-mails. There is no longer time to sit and think!”

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Karen Richardson