Americans Racking Up Voluntary Overtime Thanks to Mobility

Americans are putting in more than a month and a half of overtime each year just by answering calls and replying to email from home.

That’s the finding of a new survey from mobile-security software company Good Technology, which discovered that 80 percent of people continue working after leaving the office for an average of seven extra hours each week almost another full day of work. That’s a total of close to 30 hours a month, or 365 extra hours every year. They’re also using their cell phones to mix work and their personal life in ways never seen before.

Three in five people surveyed said they do this simply to stay organized, but almost half feel they have no choice because their customers demand quick replies. Almost one-third (31 percent) of respondents admit to continuing to work at home as they find it hard to "switch off." Half of Americans can’t even put their phone down while in bed, as they read or respond to work emails after climbing under the covers, the survey found.

This overtime has become so commonplace that only one-quarter of the 1,000 workers polled said it caused an occasional disagreement with their partner.

"In today’s ‘always on’ mobile environment, secure access to corporate email and apps is a ‘must have’ vs. a ‘nice to have’ for nearly all companies," said John Herrema, SVP of corporate strategy for Good Technology. "While most of our customers believe their employees do work more hours as a result of this accessibility, they also appreciate and welcome the enhanced work-life balance that comes when employees have more freedom and choice to get work done whenever and wherever they need to whether that’s in the office, on the road, or while sitting in the stands at a child’s baseball game."

The study found that 68 percent of people check their work emails before 8 a.m.; the average American first checks their phone around 7:09 a.m.; half check their work email while still in bed; the work day is growing 40 percent still do work email after 10 p.m.; 69 percent will not go to sleep without checking their work email; 57 percent check work email on family outings; and 38 percent routinely check work email while at the dinner table.

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