Yes, I’ve succumbed, I’ve got a Blackberry. I’ve read many articles about how terrible blackberries are, since they encourage you to be available at all times. Laura at 11D hates the idea, after her husband has been forced to get one.
But I think that just like many other things, the effect on your life depends on a combination of you, and your employer. For me, it improves my life because I can check my emails on the bus home. And when I’m at a corporate love-in (as I was on Wednesday) I can check my emails during the breaks, and I know that nothing major has happened back at the office.
But for me, my life is majorly improved by being able to do work at home, because the alternative is to do it at the office. If I can do work at home, I can come home, have dinner with the boys, and then do some more work after they’ve gone to bed. If I can’t work at home, I still have to do the same amount of work, but I have to stay late, and miss a family dinner to do it.
But if a Blackberry means that you end up doing just as much work at the office, and then have to do more at nights and weekends as well, they’re a dumb idea.
I know plenty of people who are addicted enough to work that they will do more work by being in contact all the time. And others, like Laura’s husband who are pressured into doing more. But sometimes the doom and gloom stories miss that tools like Blackberries (and my remote access to my work’s computer network) can actually improve work life balance as well.
Mind you, I probably should revisit this post in a month’s time, before being too smug about my work life balance.