Millions of Americans love their smart phones, tablets, and laptops, but being connected 24/7 can mean we're never really "away' from the office. Employees are now able to check their emails and voicemails at any time from any place.
A report from the Bureau of Labor says that between half and two-thirds of telecommuting hours are on top of a standard 40-hour week, which means many of us are working longer than the typical 8 hour day.
According to the Pew Research Center, 45% of Americans now own a smart phone and 31% own a tablet.
"The technology that's happened over the last decade or so is tremendous, but at the same time, I feel constantly connected now," said food salesman James Wagner told NBCnews.com. "You get conditioned to constantly be looking at the thing. For example, I get up in the morning... I’m literally still in bed and I’m checking emails."
Stefani Stankiewicz has both an iPhone and and an iPad. She said her devices give her near-constant contact with her job. "My boyfriend does complain that I’m on my phone answering emails a lot,” Stankiewicz said. “Am I being more productive or am I stopping myself from having a social life?"
Americans Don't Unplug
Many of you might think the solution is easy, just turn your devices off during dinner, or when you go on vacation. However, a Salary.com survey found that a third of people say they feel anxious when they can’t check their work email or voicemail for an "extended" period of time.
While most companies don't put out memos mandating employees to be connected around-the-clock, some workers say they get signals from management that checking emails and being up-to-date is something they like to see.
It’s a balancing act that won’t likely change any time soon.