'Tis the holiday season, but how will you be spending it?
More than half of you will be logging on two or more hours a day -- some spending up to eight hours -- catching up on work, according to a survey by email data protection company ZixCorp.
Thanks to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, remote work policies and powerful mobile devices, a knowledge worker is only a hand's reach away from "clocking in," so to speak. Instead of unwrapping presents, people will be typing and tapping on their phones, tablets and laptops. In ZixCorp's survey of more than 1,000 Americans, 57 percent plan to work over the upcoming holiday break.
It's at a point where companies simply expect their employees to be reachable outside of regular work hours. The ZixCorp survey found that 73 percent of respondents who work outside regular business hours say that it is stated or implied that they be accessible.
The blended work-life culture has led to huge productivity gains for companies.
According to the ZixCorp survey, four out of five full-time employees respond to emails even when their out-of-office reply is on, probably because they don't want to be greeted with hundreds of emails upon their return. Nearly two out of three work on their days off. Two out of five spend more than an hour working at night.
An Hour Here and There Adds Up
"To put these survey results in perspective, if a full-time employee works one extra hour per evening, that means they will work an additional 260 hours -- or 32 extra work days -- over the course of the year," the ZixCorp report says.
Then there's this worrisome stat: 68 percent of respondents claim that being able to access their work outside of regular hours is necessary to do their job effectively.
For California companies, this ZixCorp finding should set off alarms. Earlier this summer, the California Court of Appeal ruled that companies must reimburse employees for work-related use of personal cellphones, which sent CIOs into a holding pattern with their BYOD plans.
Companies face other challenges from this boost in worker productivity.
Corporate data security breaches can undermine the blended work-life culture. Despite a CIO's best efforts to bring secure practices to the BYOD crowd, in the form of user policies, employees will often do whatever they want, putting companies at risk of data loss or being out of compliance with regulations.
Is It Better to Burn Out Than Stay Away?
Employees might also be susceptible to worker burnout. Half of respondents in a TEKsystems survey say the constant mobile connection to work apps, documents and email has increased their stress because they're never able to unplug.
Nevertheless, it appears people working at night, on weekends and over the holidays is the new normal.
"Not too surprisingly, 75 percent of the individuals surveyed who log on to work outside regular work hours said that the ability to use mobile devices to access work information or email outside of work hours is a positive development," says CEO Rick Spurr at ZixCorp.