There's plenty of evidence that the traditional eight-hour workday has gone the way of the cassette tape with many employees routinely staying past 5 p.m. and remotely checking in with the office well into the night. But now an inevitable clash has arisen—what might generously be called "work-family multitasking."
As professional and personal lives become increasingly intertwined in this always-connected world, workers and their families are struggling to set boundaries.
A CareerBuilder survey released Thursday found 24 percent of knowledge workers check work emails during activities with family and friends. Nearly the same amount said work is the last thing they think about before they go to bed and fully 42 percent say it's the first thing they think about when they wake up.
And nearly 1 in 5 people seem to have no ability at all to unplug from the office—17 percent said they have a "tough time enjoying leisure activities because they are thinking about work."
"The problem is that we have created an expectation in our society that we are reachable and available at all times. The new technology allows that and, instead of putting boundaries on our time outside of traditional work hours, we allow work to bleed into our downtime and personal time and to interfere with quality time with family and friends," said Tanya Schevitz, spokesperson for Reboot, a think tank that promotes an annual National Day of Unplugging in March.
"We need to reset expectations to give ourselves a break from being constantly 'on.' Certainly we all have crunch times when we do need to put in a lot of extra hours ... but this 24-hour cycle of work should not be the norm."