Are you addicted to your gadgets?

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The good thing about having email firing directly to your phone or PDA is that it gives you access to your inbox at all hours. Good thing? Well, for many people it is. But according to one psychologist, it could also lead to a dependence.

BlackBerry users in America lost their web and email connectivity this week for ten hours. Some users complained of immense frustration and imagined their workplaces grinding to a halt without their immediate input – that’s a sign of dependence or addiction – or a lack of trust in those around you.

Leading psychologist Professor Graham Jones of performance development consultancy Lane4 warns not to get too attached to technology: “The virtual office has indeed revolutionised the way we do business but what about the unwanted side effects when the line between business and pleasure becomes blurred? Managers may have the luxury of being able to manage their workload whenever wherever, but increasingly they’re losing their grip on a healthy work life balance,”

According to Professor Jones, managers must learn to switch off at the end of the working day or before a holiday: “They need to set an example of leaving on time and taking their holidays. They should also create effective hand-over notes and show they trust their staff to get on with the job while they are away by giving them responsibility and not phoning in to check up on them. People working in teams and sharing responsibilities means that roles do not become person-dependent. The guarantee is you’ll return to work revitalised and when faced with a sink or swim situation, your employees will thrive when they realise the results they can achieve in your absence when they think like a team.”

Developing Mental Toughness: Gold Medal Strategies For Transforming Your Business Performance, written by Lane4 cofounders, Professor Graham Jones and Adrian Moorhouse is available now.

Lane4 website

Dave Walker