Leave it at work.

When you wake up early on a Saturday morning because a mobile device from your work is going off, you work too much.  If you think that checking a work email eveneings and weekends is ‘normal’ or ‘a part of your job’, you work too much.  If your work cell phone rings when you’re on vacation in the middle of the Sahara, you work too much.

The internet is a wonderful tool.  Blackberrys are wonderful tools.  Remote access to the workplace is a wonderful tool.  All of these great tools make us more effective at doing our jobs.  They give us ease, and speed, which is as it should be.  They should not become excuses for allowing your job to take over your life.

In a recent survey, almost half the respondents said mobile technologies make it harder to disconnect from work when they are supposed to be off.  46% said they increase the amount of time they are expected to work.  That’s unacceptable.  If a company requires someone to be available day and night, you hire multiple shifts of workers.  If there’s an situation that requires someone to be in touch in addition to typical work hours, the word is ‘overtime’.  You don’t expect mobile technologies to raise the amount of hours someone works, whether inside or outside the office.

In an emergency, a company might need to contact an individual during vacation or when they are off the clock.  But when that contact becomes habit, and occurs daily or even weekly, that’s a breech of the employment agreement.  We have labor laws for a reason.  If you’re off the clock, either stay off the clock or demand from your employer what you legally deserve.