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Workers See Benefits to Constant Connectivity

technology . / Credit: Worker Tech Image via Shutterstock

Despite popular belief, most U.S. workers think that being constantly connected to the office via a mobile device is a good thing, new research shows.

A study by the American Psychological Association's Center for Organizational Excellence revealed the majority of employees believe that having smartphones and tablets accessible when working remotely is making them more productive and balanced. Specifically, 56 percent of those surveyed said communication technology allows them to be more productive, while 53 percent said it provides more flexibility.

David W. Ballard, assistant executive director for organizational excellence at the American Psychological Association, said oftentimes, workers are told to unplug if they want to achieve work-life balance and recharge. He believes while there's no question that people need downtime to recover from work stress and avoid burnout, that doesn't necessarily require a complete "digital detox."

"For many people, the ability to stay connected adds value to their work and personal lives," Ballard said. "We're learning that not everyone wants to power down, and that's OK."

The research found that enhanced productivity and flexibility aren't the only benefits that come from today's communication technology. Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said using smartphones and tablets to access work remotely has made it easier to get work done, with nearly half saying it has had a positive impact on their relationship with co-workers.

Being plugged in 24/7, however, is not without its challenges. The study discovered that more than one-third of employed Americans said communication technology increases their workload and makes it more difficult to stop thinking about work and take a break from work.

"Communication technology enhances our lives when it connects us to others and helps us be healthier, happier and more productive," Ballard said. "The benefits are only sustainable, however, when these tools are used in ways that are a good fit for each individual's needs, skills and preferences."

The study was based on surveys of more than 1,000 adults who reside in the U.S. and are employed either full-time or part-time.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.