Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pressure to be available 24×7 creates e-mail addiction

Private Property
Employees today are under enormous pressure to be “online” 24 hours a day, which is driving them to risky behaviors and underscoring the importance of e-mail reliability and availability for businesses, according to a new study conducted by Osterman Research and commissioned by Neverfail. The report finds that worry over being available during non-work hours has led employees to e-mail addiction, causing them to take unnecessary risks with their health, their relationships, and even the welfare of others.

“The study uncovered a constant pressure for employees to be available at all times through their mobile devices. This will only worsen with the economic downturn as employees take on more responsibility because of budget and headcount reductions,” said Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research. “The resulting addiction to e-mail is driving people to unnecessary and sometimes dangerous risks.”

E-mail Addiction and Unnecessary Risks

Underscoring the reliance on 24×7 e-mail reliability and the intense addiction employees have developed, mobile device users admit to engaging in risky or inappropriate behavior to access and respond to e-mail during off hours. This behavior is greatly affecting employees’ work-life balance, potentially leading to problems with their health and general well-being. A staggering 94 percent of end user respondents use their phones to send e-mail or text messages during work nights or on the weekends, and nearly 80 percent never leave their phones at home when they go on vacation.

Employees are also taking risks with their relationships to remain connected, with 11 percent admitting to sending e-mail messages while engaged in “intimate behavior.” Nearly 80% of respondents also admitted to checking their emails while in the bathroom.

E-mail Reliability Affects Productivity

Osterman Research also surveyed IT directors, managers and CIOs across a broad range of industries to explore what’s at stake for companies with an increasing mobile workforce relying on mobile devices to conduct business. The prevalence of mobile device usage has created an unprecedented need for e-mail reliability because unexpected downtime has major business implications. Eighty percent of respondents believe their senior manager’s ability to make critical, time-sensitive decisions would be affected without access to mobile e-mail. Forty-eight percent indicate that backing up mobile data is important or very important, yet only 39 percent are confident that their mobile messaging platform is fully protected against downtime.

“The study shows that while IT is aware of the possible risks associated with mobile devices, not all companies are taking the proper precautions to protect their businesses and employees,” said Andrew Barnes, senior vice president of corporate development at Neverfail. “Email downtime puts further pressure on employees as they try to catch up with lost hours. It’s important that organizations make every effort to avoid email downtime for the sake of their business, and the health of their employees. Having a predictive, business continuity solution in place puts companies on the right path to avoiding downtime and maintaining business operations in the event it does happen.”

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