Happy Fourth of July! Are you technically on a day off but checking your work email nonetheless? If so, you are one of the 80 percent of American working adults who a recent survey says continue working outside of the office. The survey, done for Good Technology, found that 80 percent of people work an average of seven extra hours a week. That’s nearly a full day extra a week—or anyway, it would be if they weren’t working extra time every day.
According to the survey, people are checking their email and phones through more and more of the day, starting just after 7:00 in the morning and stretching past 10:00 at night. Another survey, by the American Psychological Association, found that 62 percent of Americans say work has “a significant impact on stress levels.”
The reach of work into our lives hits people across income levels, though in different ways. “Just-in-time” scheduling means that many low-wage workers have to be available to be called in to work on short notice (and can be sent home on equally short notice), while for professional-managerial class workers, constant availability is often framed as a marker of responsibility and status even though it has become a widespread expectation over which workers in fact have little to no control. Many people make themselves constantly available not because they love their jobs or feel personally motivated to monitor everything that happens, but because with high unemployment and job insecurity increasingly a way of life for many, they fear losing their jobs. And job insecurity has become a major cause of depression, anxiety disorders, and other forms of poor health.
The flip response is to say “it’s Independence Day! Take the day off!” But of course lots of people can’t, and even suggesting that the pressure to check work email or phone messages during “off” time frames that as an individual issue rather than one imposed by employers.
Still, relax if you can. But if you can’t, don’t blame yourself. Blame an economy in which anyone not in the top 1 percent is there to be used up and thrown away.
Source: Daily Kos