Overtime Adds Nearly One Extra Week of Work Each Month

With an e-mail here and a phone call there, employees have upped their work hours outside the office to as many as 30 hours a month. 

As work has become more portable, employees in the U.S. may feel work is following them around, and a survey from Good Technology in Sunnyvale, California, a provider of security software for mobile devices, bears this out.

More than 80% of people continue working when they have left the office, about seven extra hours each week—almost another full day of work, the survey found. That’s nearly 365 extra hours every year.

While 60% of workers say they use cellphones and e-mail from portable devices to stay organized while away from the office, almost half say they feel they have no choice but to stay connected because their customers demand quick replies.

The study also revealed:

  • 68% percent of people check work e-mail before 8 a.m.
  • The average American first checks his or her phone around 7:09 a.m.
  • 50% read work e-mail in bed.
  • The work day is growing longer; 40% check work e-mail after 10 p.m.
  • 69% will not go to sleep without checking work e-mail.
  • 57% check work e-mails on family outings.
  • 38% routinely read work e-mail at the dinner table.

Thirty-one percent of respondents say they work at home because they find it hard to switch off. Half of Americans read and answer work e-mails even after going to bed.

Near-constant use of work-related e-mail and cellphones has become so common that only a quarter of the 1,000 workers polled said it caused an occasional disagreement with their partner. As attitudes to mobile work are beginning to change, well over half surveyed reported no arguments from a spouse or significant other over e-mail or work calls at home.