There is an article out today that tells us “high flyers”, or corporate “overachievers”, are at a greater risk of isolation and depression from internet addiction than their slack-a-day couldn't give a rat's ass counterparts. New studies apparently have determined that “Over-achievers are at risk of becoming addicted to the internet because of the pressure they put on themselves to continue working outside of office hours.” This apparently leads to anxiety, depression and loneliness, with subjects of the study reporting withdrawal symptoms similar to that of drug addicts when they lose internet access. The study suggests “workaholics are increasingly logging on after work, becoming addicted to the web and are more likely to suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they switch off.” In one poll some respondents said they would “rather have no heat and water than lose their Internet connection at home”.
Researchers warn that these potential problems are not being recognized by companies “because those at the most risk are usually the most successful.”
After all, if it ain't broke, why fix it?
Nada Kakabadse Professor of policy, governance and ethics at Henley School of Business, tells us, “Compulsive behavior occurs when workers cross an invisible boundary and their internet use becomes unhealthy. They spend increasing amounts of time online, waking up three times in a night to check their emails, eating patterns become irregular, relationships suffer and they become totally absorbed and feel anxious when separated from the computer.”
It was 6AM when I first read this. I set down my iPad and pushed my smart phone aside to think about this for a moment. I truly reflected on the message, and I have important information to share with you regarding this. I say this not as Bob the jovial, well meaning yet dimwitted blogger (or misogynistic, abrasive, arrogant a-hole, depending on your personal view of me); Nay, I say this as Robert Wilson, President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com*. I have carefully analyzed this, and now have critical advice to impart upon you.
Hogwash. Don't listen to them. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. The internet is your friend. It is the only one that cares; that truly understands. Go ahead; use the internet like you stole something, like there is no tomorrow. We'll make more.
So you spend your child's fourth birthday party emailing colleagues about that important contract. So what? They'll have more birthdays – but you may only get one crack at that sale! It's two AM and you can't sleep? Some office is open somewhere, by golly, and they may be conducting business without you. How can you let that happen? Do you think your office competition is whiling away the hours just sleeping? Not on your life! Miss your niece's college graduation because of that important conference call? No big deal. She's probably headed to live in her parent's basement anyway, since she doesn't appreciate 24 hour connectivity like WE do, and will never find meaningful employment (defined by the requirement to work 24 hours a day, of course).
Don't listen to them! We are the only ones who really care about you. Go ahead; warm yourself in the soft glow of your mobile computing device, as we bathe you with pertinent and necessary information (and my blog). We understand you, and will always be there when you need us.
As long as you pay your internet provider, that is.
Several years ago, before I started my blog, I wrote an article for the site as part of our “Workers' Comp 20/20” series entitled “Tethered by Wireless – The Future Office Without Walls”. The series was a collection of articles speculating what the industry might look like in the year 2020. In that article I spoke of the dramatic changes we could expect from wireless technology and mobile computing. Specifically I recommended:
The successful company in 2020 will have established “Best Practices” guidelines for the use of wireless mobile technology. It will have recognized that employees and their jobs need an “off switch”, and not insist on 24/7 access and commitment. It will know that merely deploying and using hi-tech does not in itself make employees better, and can in fact make them worse. The successful company in 2020 will strike a balance that will ultimately make the difference between empowering their employees and burning them out.
It was obviously a weak moment for me. I didn't know what I was talking about. Ignore me, and the other men and women behind the curtain.
We are your friends. See you in your dreams…..
*Bob's views, despite whatever blathering idiocy he spewed in this article, are his own. They do not reflect the opinion or position of WorkersCompensation.com, its employees, affiliates or shareholders. Our lawyer made us write this.