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« Accounting Firm Implements Compressed Workweek to Address Work Life Balance Issues | Main | Calvita J. Frederick-Sowell: From Law to Tea Maven »

University Professor Predicts Work Life Balance Lawsuits From Blackberry Addictions

Dr. Gayle Porter, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management at the Rutgers University School of Business in Camden, NJ, gained extensive media coverage recently with her prediction that employees will start suing companies for grinding work schedules that compel them to remain tethered to their Blackberries and cell phones 24/7. Dr. Porter argues that the relentless pace of technology-enhanced work environments can create tech addicts who may eventually blame their employers for destroying their personal lives (similar in nature to the lawsuits against fast food chains for pitching unhealthy foods). She notes the proliferation of terms such as "CrackBerry" to refer to the wireless Blackberry device represent some acknowledgment, albeit lighthearted for now, that many people are out of control with using these devices.

See media coverage of Dr. Porter's research in Information Week, Computerworld and TechWeb.

Dr. Porter has performed extensive research on workaholism and its impact on family relationships - see her CV here.

Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog for this post providing a link (MP3) to an interview with Dr. Porter on WNYC radio.

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I think I'm one of the rare people who never remembers to check for messages; If someone really needs me, they'll call. I leave an out of office message on when I'm away, so they know I'm not there. Sometimes I'll check it and respond. I don't like that it (my Treo) is big and the battery life stinks.

A bit of good advice that was once given to me is define your parameters, let others know what they are, stick to them and they will be respected. It's not fair to hold others responsible for imposing their expectations on you when you haven't communicated your own expectations. The same holds true for use of the Blackberry. It can be a really effective tool for allowing more flexibility into one's life, but if you don't set parameters for its use from the beginning, you can find yourself getting overrun with others' expectations. Last I knew, the Blackberry had an on/off button, and is capable of integrating with the "Out of Office" Assistant. Don't be afraid to use them.

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