Yahoo Says Americans Work Too Much

    April 6, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Usually, when I go home for the day, I unplug. Unplugging means not even jacked in wirelessly: cell phone is off; computer (if I can help it) is off; laptop is off. The same goes for the weekend; if you want to get a hold of me, it can wait until Monday. Home is home, work is work, and I’m quite strict about their separation.

Yahoo Says Americans Work Too Much
Yahoo Says Americans Work Too Much
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One day, I imagine I’ll have to violate my own rules. I’ve already caved in regard to using a cell phone at all. I have an answering machine. Sometimes I’m not home. Deal with it, I’ll call you back. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t completely stick. My cell number is the only number some people have. Ho hum.

Yahoo HotJobs just released new data showing that around a quarter of survey respondents felt that wireless devices kept them "on a permanent corporate leash" and that they were easily distracted by work-related email and calls during personal time.

That’s not as many as I thought would feel that way, especially since two-thirds of American respondents said they jack into work even while on vacation. Now, vacation is where I really draw the line. Work doesn’t exist on vacation. Period.

It turns out most people seem to like the flexibility – but Yahoo worries we might be overdoing it.

"Wireless devices have become a professional reality," said vice president of marketing for Yahoo! HotJobs Susan Vobejda, "so it’s important for people to set limits on when and how to disengage in order to maintain work-life balance.

"With 67 percent of respondents admitting to having used a wireless device to connect with work while on vacation, signs indicate that the American workforce may be facing burnout."

Vobejda says all that connectivity has changed the physical parameters of the workplace, and has extended the workday. And she be right about burn out.

An American in the 21st Century has to work 25 years to get the same number of paid vacation days that are mandatory minimums in Europe. In all, according to this source, American workers put in almost 400 more hours per year than their European counterparts. That’s TEN weeks. Well, eight weeks, if we’re talking Stateside hours.

Wireless connectivity is only increasing the work-a-holism. Twenty-seven percent of respondents admitted being so attached to their wireless device that the only time they’re not texting, talking, emailing, or monitoring work is when they’re sleeping.

Bet the missus doesn’t like that much, either. A third said they found it more difficult to get their point across through electronic means than conversation. So next time you tell her you love her and want her, it may be a good idea to use your voice box instead of your inbox.

Despite the reservations of the admitted few, most respondents to Yahoo! HotJobs’ survey appreciated the flexibility wireless connectivity offered them. Almost half reported they volunteered for virtual work access. Eighty-one percent stay connected with work via mobile phone; 65 percent via laptop; and 19 percent use smartphones.   

Interestingly, they say the always-on lifestyle they’ve adopted "enhance" the work-life balance – something I’ll take their words for and continue to turn off when I get home: 

The rest of Yahoo! HotJobs findings: 

The majority (61 percent) agree that wireless devices make them feel like they have more freedom;

Sixty-five percent say wireless devices allow them to work remotely and have a more flexible schedule;

Almost half (48 percent) report that wireless devices allow them to spend more time with family and friends; and

An overwhelming 70 percent agree that they are more productive thanks to a wireless device.