back to article Waking to check mail? You're not alone

One in three mobile workers wake regularly during the night to check their email, while 40 per cent will interrupt a meeting to answer a call. They used to say that if you couldn't sleep the night without breaking for a cigarette then you were properly addicted, and by that token over 30 per cent of mobile workers surveyed by …


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  1. NoneSuch Silver badge

    I have no doubt those statistics are true.

    Just goes to prove we are TOO connected.

    We need less Jibber Jabber and more quality of life. LOL's and smiley faces just don't cut it for that.

    1. Mark 65

      1 in 3

      "One in three mobile workers wake regularly during the night to check their email"

      Sad, sad, sad bastards. Switch it on silent and check in the morning (unless you're on an overnight rota)

      1. Ceiling Cat


        Once upon a time, I tried replacing my land-line with a cel-phone :

        - When I was sleeping, the phone was muted. Any calls which came in would be ignored until morning.

        - When I was on the bus to work, The phone was muted. All incoming calls would be ignored until I arrived on the jobsite.

        - When I was at work, the phone spent most of it's time locked away in my storage cupboard, because carrying a cel-phone is a bloody nuisance.

        In the end, it didn't pan out. Now I have a land-line again, and screw "24-7 connectivity". Being a pay-to-talk phone, mine never had web browsing/email anyways, and at $0.25 per SMS, anyone who text'd me found themselves facing an angry diatribe on cost vs. efficiency.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a long term problem

    This is a clear darwinian situation - no partner will put up with this for long enough to breed with the subject, so in a few generations this tendency will be bred out of the species.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A woman I dated...

    Would stop during love-making to reply to text messages.

    Amazingly enough, she couldn't understand why it was a problem and subsequently why I was dumping her.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You're not doing it right

      see title

      1. Anonymous Coward


        I was holding it wrong.

    2. Yag


      Perhaps you were DOING IT WRONG so she was unable to focus on the thing?

      Sorry - I got carried away and thought I was on /b/

    3. Lamont Cranston

      "would stop during love-making"

      Stop doing what? You could just carry on, and let her catch up when she's off the phone.

      Or am I doing it wrong?

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      You ungrateful so-and-so

      She was willing to interrupt her love-making to reply to your silly texts and yet you still dumped her!

  4. Lockwood

    I wake up to texts and the occasionaly email.

    My phone doesn't go on silent at home.

    Getting an email at about half one from TfL to acknowledge an earlier phone call was not welcome, though.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Working for a workaholic...

    Having worked for a workaholic for the past few years has made me less inclined than ever to even look at my phone outside of work hours let alone answer it.

    In the early days there were phone calls to discuss random things that didn't need discussing then and there, or requests to fix things that didn't need fixing (for example one of the owners couldn't print on their printer. There are 5 other printers within 50 meters of their printer that were all working, but that warranted a call on a sunday afternoon. Or a call while on holiday because some accounting software was throwing up weird figures and they though it was down to a migration I did a month earlier (it was the staff inputting the figures. Surprisingly!), the list goes on). So these days my default action is to let it go to voicemail and pick it up on Monday morning...

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

      @ Working for a workaholic

      Perhaps he wasn't a workaholic, but consientious enough to worry about his job, and pissed that you weren't doing yours correctly?

      1. Lamont Cranston

        Then that's just bad management,

        isn't it?

      2. Aaron Em


        There's a difference between "conscientious about his job" and "has no sense of what must be dealt with right now and what can wait until Monday".

        But, hey, I guess I now know the handle of at least one IT manager who posts on the Reg. Must remember that next time I'm looking for a laugh.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Definitley a workaholic...

        Nothing else going on in their life. Lived to work. Expected everyone else to be the same.

        I pride myself on doing a good job and being conscientious. System downtime is almost non existent now thanks to me (where as days were common before). But when you get nothing for working outside of your contracted hours, effectively working for free for less and less each year and that becomes a given and abused for pointless non problems then after a while you stop worrying what happens outside of hours as its probably nothing. Perhaps they never heard of the boy who cried wolf...

  6. Jess

    Auto on/off is your friend

    at least on BlackBerries

  7. Iain Thomas

    Of course...

    ... there are times that reading e-mails is fairly vital.

    Case in point; this morning, e-mail from insurer "Oh, your cover lapsed at midnight". Had I not seen that, and driven to work, driving without insurance is a criminal offence...


    -- Iain.

    1. maclovinz


      ...and the insurance lobbyists make absolutely sure it stays that way....

      I love walking to effect from gas prices either!!! XD

      1. Anonymous Coward

        And it gets worse

        Shortly you'll have broken the law even without driving the car as it'll be illegal even to own one without insurance unless you've made a SORN declaration.

        Money for nothing or what?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    easy solution

    Set your phone not to notify you of incoming texts and e-mails between 10pm and 7am. Sorted.

    Answering a call during a meeting is not proof we are too connected - like having a wank in a meeting it's just sheer fucking bad manners and proof, if it were needed, that people have no idea how to behave in public or business environments these days.

    1. Steven Roper

      You bastard

      After reading your post, I had to go to a meeting. Because of "like having a wank in a meeting it's just sheer fucking bad manners", the image of one of those present quietly rubbing one out under the table, and what I would say in response if it happened, dogged me the entire meeting, and it was all I could do not to explode in laughter every time it crossed my mind. Everyone must have thought I was on something...

      I hate you.

  9. HP Cynic

    Sadder than I thought

    I knew a few people were this tragic but had no idea so many would be this rude, inconsiderate and downright addicted to their work.

    15 years into my career only a few people have ever got my Mobile number (they try literally every week) and once I leave the office I've made it clear I stop caring. If someone calls when I'm driving I don't answer because it's not just an offence (at last) but incredibly stupid.

    Conversely someone here just spent 20 mins on Tuesday "at the side of the road with his clutch and break pedals pressed" on the phone about work (someone just wanted another telephone number off him which then turned into waffle).

    It was 7:30am and he was 5 mins drive FROM work.

    I don't respect workaholics or those willing to sacrifice all of their personal life for meaningless calls and emails: I at most pity them because they have lost all perspective.

    1. maclovinz

      It's pretty easy to do, though....

      Paranoia is a weird thing. I've been guilty of stuff like this sometimes, but I also just turn the phone off, even sometimes when I maybe shouldn''s just not THAT important....thought it's nice of them to cover the bill! XD

    2. serviceWithASmile

      re: tragic work

      Perhaps I'm lucky but this seems really extreme to me.

      I am very into my work and am available to talk to when I'm not in the building, but at the same time my employers never take the piss. I get a text if it's something I need to know before tomorrow but can wait, and sometimes a phonecall if it's at a reasonable hour and I need to not be in the office the following day (bit of a mobile office at times).

      It seems terribly rude to phone somebody when they aren't at work and expect them to *do* work.

      But I don't think it's completely unreasonable either, if there is something that can't wait and you have a prior agreement that certain stuff would be OK.

  10. maclovinz

    Instant Gratification

    This all comes down to the philosophy of our "instant gratification society". Issues cannot take time to repair anymore...they need to be repaired within -10 seconds of when they occur.

    It's BECAUSE of management that we have this extremely ridiculous idea that there is no such thing as downtime. Everybody is supposed to be working all the time, and even outside of your normal hours, your work environment travels with you, and your employer claims to own your ass.

    People need to THINK more before acting/reacting. Taking that short bit of time will help clear your mind to properly tackle any issue.

    It's actually a LACK of philosophy that contributes to this "first response" mentality that isn't really needed in professions outside emergency services. But, if you don't respond quickly enough, we'll find one in some sweat shop overseas....oh wait, they're already doing that.....right, because corporations are people too!

    LOOK new icons!!!!!

  11. Mike123456

    It's not just limited to phone calls though..

    Or Email.

    If you have a workaholic boss, have you found you work longer hours?

    Have you also founds that overtime is only by agreement?

    How the fuck does that work?

    You pay me for X hours. If you want more than that, at least have the decency to pay for my time, and not expect it 'because it's just the way it's done' The UK works the longest hours in Europe (apparently) leave us alone in our own time.

    Blackberry to off position after work, let alone 10PM

  12. Kubla Cant

    Next Generation

    If the yoofs of my acquaintance are any guide, there's no danger whatever of their taking calls during meetings etc. They never answer calls, only text messages. The result is that a conversation that would take 30 seconds on the phone requires an interminable exchange of one-liners.

    Mutatis mutandis, the disease has spread to offices, too. Phones are only used for conferences. Interaction between individuals is all by instant messaging applications. Personally I find this very disruptive, and to judge from reports that say IM use when studying knocks 20% off exam marks, I'm not the only one.

    1. Aaron Em

      '30 seconds' indeed

      I'd love to have people to talk on the phone with like you have! It's nice to have a chat, but it is sorely lacking in bandwidth by comparison with email. Not needing two people in the same 'place' at the same time is also often a benefit. So is having an email archive available to supplement memory, not just one's own but those of other people; I for one have frequently found it necessary to send someone a copy of their own months- or years-old email, laying down the law on whatever subject happens to be currently in contention -- it's generally rather difficult for someone to go on saying I'm doing it wrong, in the face of their own words telling me to do it exactly the way I have been.

      Gratuitous Latin, I don't entirely disagree with you. For example, I shun instant-messaging technology for the blight on human communication that it is. But the general statement that telephones are always better than text-based media is one I find rather unreasonable on the whole; I think it's more accurate to say that a telephone conversation is almost always a better option than a *synchronous* text-based medium such as instant messaging, but that an asynchronous medium such as email, or even text messaging, is often much better than either.

      1. Kubla Cant

        Talk on the phone? Not likely.

        If I seemed to imply that I chat to people on the phone, then I've failed to make myself clear. As a software developer, talking to people is something I find excuses to avoid. Like you (I think) I favour email.

        The sort of 30-second conversation I'm thinking of is one arranging when and where to meet (or in the case of the kids, when and where to pick them up). Exchanging half a dozen SMS messages to complete this arrangement is nothing short of dire.

  13. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Who exactly are these mobile workers?

    "we have to acknowledge that a proportion will be single"

    I suspect that it is a high proportion and for perfectly innocent reasons. *If* you are single and willing to be on call 24/7 then there are employers who will pay over the odds for your services. There's nothing wrong with that deal being struck between consenting adults.

    If some researcher then comes along and restricts their survey to that self-selecting group, I don't think the results count for much.

  14. Geoff Thompson
    Big Brother

    Common Sense

    My job is not dealing with life and death situations, so I don't need to be on call 24/7. My phone is downstairs when I sleep upstairs. It is set to sync with work 07.30 to 17.00 Monday to Friday. My boss and 3 other people have my mobile number, and they only ring me outside of work hours if the situation is very important and very urgent. We send emails in the evening and weekends, but not with the expectation that they will be read outside of office hours. If I am expecting a very urgent call when I go to a meeting I will have the phone on silent and explain in advance that I might need to take a call. If I do get the call, I leave the room. We only use text when the message is urgent and brief, usually pre arranged e.g., visitor arrived, It is about not being addicted.

    1. Aaron Em

      What a Paine

      156 words, 15 of which (or about ten percent) are forms of the first- and second-person pronouns. Apparently, 'common sense' is doing it exactly the way you and your colleagues do it.

      On a more broadly applicable note, I've found that an emergency charge of double the usual labor rate, in a minimum half-hour increment, very effectively discourages out-of-hours trivialities among clients who've somehow got hold of my cell number. It works on precisely the same principle as the plumber's emergency charge that people always complain about: it's expensive not because I am an extortionist, but rather so you'll leave me the hell alone unless it's really worth it -- otherwise my life would be nothing *but* 3am calls from people who could very easily figure out for themselves that they need to switch on the printer, but don't want to bother.

  15. Chris 211

    Mobile Workers, Like Me Maybe...

    Well not in the excess but I have to be on-call for a week, once or twice a month. I get paid for being on call then overtime the instant I am called and the procedure is a phone call at any time. eMails are for exchanging information or in today's virtual physically distant team members exchanging none urgent messages, an email should never need acting on NOW. We have 2hr SLA's, that includes driving to site, so you can see when I get a phone call sometimes I do have to take it then and there whatever I am doing, because I am paid to and I accept it. However, this is only 1-2 weeks a month.

  16. Rattus Rattus

    Anyone who has found themselves standing in front of a Power Point slide addressing a room

    ...should take a long hard look at themselves and work out why their life has reached such a nadir.

    As for out of hours calls - I'm a contractor, with a suitably exorbitant hourly rate. If I take a call out of hours, the clock starts ticking, with at least time and a half applied to said rate. And an hour minimum. I don't seem to get a lot of unnecessary calls...

  17. Winkypop Silver badge

    It's just a phone

    It's not important.

    Not at all.

    Get over it.

  18. T J

    Always hated phones!

    Speaking as a Gen-X'er, I HATE PHONES. If its not a convenient moment - it goes to messagebank. If its from a number the phone doesnt recognise - it goes to messagebank.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    I don't mind phones but I I hate voicemail. Won't listen to it, will rarely leave it. Will call back numbers that show up on my missed calls log and reply to texts.

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