MIAMI (CBS4) – We’re tethered to work through our technology, working around the clock constantly checking those emails even when we’re at the office.
Sound familiar? But what if it didn’t have to be that way?
“My daughter joked, you don’t know where my school is. I know where her school is. But to have a daughter joke that… just the whole implication is about how much I’m traveling not around,” said Deborah Lovetch.
Lovetch was working harder and working longer to get ahead, treating her smartphone like a member of the family. Which meant missing out on time with her actual family.
But then her company, the Boston Consulting Group agreed to take part in an intriguing experiment. What would happen if it’s workers… conditioned to work 24/7… suddenly took one night off?
The idea was the brain child of Harvard Professor Leslie Perlow, the author of the book “Sleeping with your Smartphone.” said she believes people are basically doing that very thing… sleeping with their Smartphones.
“So I think that the downfall is that it’s unnecessary and we convince ourselves that it’s a requirement of the job,” explained Perlow.
A small team of employees at BCG were the test subjects. They would cover each other, making sure that every member of the team got one night a week to completely turn off.
The surprise of this experiment wasn’t that shutting the Smartphone off made for a better personal life, that was sort of expected.
The surprise was that unplugging actually made the work better.
“Productivity absolutely went up,” reported one of the bosses at BCG. ” You can work less, but you actually work better.”
How much better? A survey of BCG workers who took part in the experiment found the work to be more collaborative, more efficient, and effective. Job satisfaction also started to soar.
“And the amazing result here is pay attention to people’s personal lives and you’ll get these tremendous work benefits,” explained Perlow.
Empowering the employees to let the company know when they needed the time off was a key to the new-found freedom.
“I’m not thinking in the back of my head, what are the things that are hitting my inbox now that I should be worried about? I feel pretty safe,” said one BCG employee.
“And you really learn to take time off and not worry,” explained Lovetch.
Now there’s an experience where being the guinea pig feels pretty good.