No escape from the office

2006

Most of us need little reminding that there's no longer any escape from the office. In fact thanks to the ubiquitous Blackberry and its ilk, nine out of 10 executives now feel they have to be available outside of working hours.

The extent to which the boundaries between work and life have evaporated has been underlined in a new survey carried out by U.S. executive recruiting network, ExecuNet.

According to its survey of 155 executives, six out of 10 are expected to be accessible outside working hours and a further three out of 10 said that while being available after hours and on the weekends is not mandated, it is certainly implied.

That leaves just one in 10 clinging onto the precious gift of being unavailable once the office door has closed behind them.

"The same technology that enables executives to be highly productive while on the road can also keep them tethered to the office around the clock," says Dave Opton, CEO of ExecuNet.

"Many professionals are finding themselves torn between the benefits of being released from the office while still keeping up with work and achieving a healthy work-life balance as each new innovation brings the office closer to home."

Two-thirds of those surveyed said they regularly work remotely out-of-hours, spending an average of 11.4 hours a week performing business-related tasks outside of the office.

Despite this, opinion is split as to whether devices such as the Blackberry have improved or damaged their work-life balance. More than half (56%) believe that technology has improved their lives, while the remaining 44% feel that it only brings greater imbalance..

But as Dave Opton pointed out, the growing demand from employers for staff to be available 24x7 could bring about a backlash.

"With the war for executive talent growing more pronounced every day, work-life balance concerns loom large for many companies," he said.

"Executives working twenty-four hours a day – seven days a week – don't need to look too far to find greener pastures."