BYOD employees work longer and pay for the privilege, study claims

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Does anyone else out there remember the plight of the “BlackBerry widow(er)”? That’s what we called those hapless other halves of hard-working executives left ignored while their partner messaged away 24/7. Looks like things are no better now that workers are bringing their own mobile devices to work -- millions of employees are allegedly working up to 20 extra hours each week.

Could this really mean BYOD is turning employees into workaholics? It’s possible when we read between the lines of the latest iPass Global Mobile Workforce Report - Q3 2012. While the report focuses on the benefits of BYOD, it also suggests a threat to most employee’s work/life balance.

From the Executive Summary:

“Employees have become even more tethered to technology in their daily lives and report they work as many as 20 additional hours a week online due to their flexible schedules. One-third of mobile workers said they never fully disconnect from technology, even during family and personal time. In some ways BYOD is enabling and supporting employees, allowing them to work more hours – and these hours help the bottom line of their companies.”

These findings are broadly in line with Cisco’s experience. That company found that employing a company-wide BYOD policy generated productivity gains equal to 30 minutes per employee per day (PDF).

Rene Hendrikse, VP of EMEA at iPass said: "BYOD is effectively turning us into a generation of productive workaholics, with many workers seemingly happy to work during their downtime in exchange for flexibility in how and where they work.”

iPass notes that the swap of personal time in exchange for work flexibility works for many people: “Despite these pressures, the majority of employees said they are content with the status of their flexible work and 42 percent said they would like more flexibility.”

To put the work/life balance thing into perspective, just 35 percent of executives take the full extent of their allotted paid time off each year, and 70 percent think mobile devices have decreased their leisure time, according to the Human Resources Blog.

The data comes from a survey of 1,200 mobile enterprise workers worldwide, just 8 percent of whom disconnect completely from work when on vacation.

So employees are working harder and longer, and, in some cases even paying for the privilege. Some 18 percent of BYOD beneficiaries are paying their own mobile service bills, with the average cost of a monthly data roaming bill reaching $1,089. 

Employers don’t always get it right. iPass notes that just 19 percent of mobile workers claim their companies don’t require security on smartphones or tablets in order to access work data. That’s pretty frightening when you consider millions of phones are lost or stolen each year, with a recent Symantec security test observing people finding lost phones will try to take a look at seemingly secret data. 

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