back to article Mobile device enslavement a plague on British workers' health

British workers are ruining their health by fondling slabs and touching screens after the work day is done, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy said. UK office monkeys are slaving away well into the night on their tablets and smartphones to try to take the pressure off during their actual working hours, doing an average of …


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  1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


    "try to take the pressure off during their actual working hours"

    I know there are pressures to get more and more done, but really, how would the company feel if you started claiming money for time you hadn't actually worked? Well, guess what? It works the other way round too.

    You turn up to work on time, you perform your job to the best of your ability in the time that you are paid for, then you go home. Anything else is extra.

    If you have been set targets that are not achievable without working extra hours unpaid these are not SMART targets (little buzzword there for the managers).

    Seriously though, people need to start taking control of their time a bit more and have a slightly smaller slave mentality. Not always easy granted, but it something to aim for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sir

      The current economic climate makes people feel they have to go the extra yards to keep their job

      The reduction of red tape in dismissing staff enforces this

      The government are twunts

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Sir

        "The current economic climate makes people feel they have to go the extra yards to keep their job"

        A situation made worse by colleagues who buckle under the pressure - it makes anyone who stands up for themselves a target - which is clearly wrong. People need to grow a backbone*

        If you are worried that you are being bullied out of a job because you won't perform these extra duties, make a faily record of your conversations - time, who with and general context - plus how the conversation made you feel. One or two won't make a difference, but if you have a couple of months worth of information and you get sacked for what you feel is pressure to work without recompense then you will stand a much better chance at the unfair dismissal tribunal.

        People need to take a defensive stance against this kind of pressure otherwise they will end up in an early grave - and don't expect the company to be sympathetic either.

        *Easy for me to say because I don't have kids and work contracts rather than permie jobs - but then again I did lose a job (and quite a bit of health) over a matter of principle so I am qualified to have an opinion at least.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Sir

          faily daily

          damn this air-con

    2. AdamWill

      Re: Sir

      Still, most of us (I'm guessing) aren't paid for time. I'm guessing we're mostly on salary, with a job description. I've got a job to do; I do it. Sometimes I work an hour a day, sometimes sixteen. I rather prefer to look at it this way than 'I've got to sit in front of this box for exactly eight hours a day, come hell or high water'. Seems a bit robotic.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Sir

        Fair point Adam, I used to work that way too until I realised that I was doing on average about 50 hours a week and getting paid for 40. Come appraisal time it was never counted either.

        But then it doesn't sound like you have much of a problem with it. If it doesn't bother you then great - fill yer boots, but there's nothing worse than listening to people bleat on about something they don't like day in, day out and never do anything about it.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: most of us (I'm guessing) aren't paid for time

        Wrong. Most of use are paid for an 8-hour day. Either that, or you're one who is paid by results - taxi driver, dentist, plumber.

        Your employer pays a sum for 8 hours of your work, not for a result. That mentality only brings two consequences : first, you give your employer a free discount on your work, second, your employer no longer realizes how many people he actually needs to get the job done.

        The conclusion ? You're cheating someone out of a job and your employer is laughing all the way to the bank.

        1. AdamWill
          Thumb Down

          Re: most of us (I'm guessing) aren't paid for time

          That may be _your_ conclusion, but it's a conclusion you have leapt to from incomplete premises and is incorrect.

          I'm not going to argue about it with you in public, because it would involve breaking confidences.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Saw this on the BBC this morning

    Also reports on the price of childcare

    Based on the BBC's recent performance as a propoganda mouth piece for the government, the only logical solution is that the government is going to have some kind of push for maximum hours and job sharing or some crap.

    The BBC has fallen to pieces lately, look how the recklessness of the driver at the start of this report gives credence to the claim that crossings are too slow.

    Lucky the camera crew were there, lucky she set off from the curb late, etc

    BBC lulz

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Um... please can you repost - it's just that I'm having trouble grokking your post as a whole.

      I did hear a report on the traffic crossing story on R4's PM, but can't grasp the link to childcare, the BBC or to working hours.


      Looking at the video you linked to, it seems that the timing of the crossing is fine, but that the drivers don't know their highway code (amber flashing lights are a sign that a car can proceed ONLY if there is no pedestrian on the crossing... the lady makes it safely across whilst the lights are still flashing orange. 'Driving without due care and consideration for other road users' is what these cars are doing *) This BBC report does nothing to re-educate drivers of the Highway Code as it relates to pedestrian crossings. So much for 'inform, educate and entertain'.

      *just like people cruising in the middle lane of the motorway, driving up your rear bumper, driving too slowly for the road without pulling over occasionally, and driving a silver car in the rain or mist without their side lights on...

  3. Tom Wood

    six to seven hour days?

    Every job I've ever worked has had nominal day somewhere between 7.5 and 8 hours. Where are all these slackers working?

    1. Ogi

      Re: six to seven hour days?

      Indeed! My minimum daily rate (as specified in my contract) is 9 hours a day (does not include on-call/weekend work, for which I am not paid overtime)! The other places I worked in had 8 hours minimum. Which job gives you less hours of work per day than that?

      Unless I'm mistaken a 7hr day is from 9am to 4pm! I'd love a job like that! Even if it meant I had to spend an extra hour or 2 on my laptop at home.

      1. AdamWill

        Re: six to seven hour days?

        7 is 8 with an hour for lunch - 9 to 5, with a lunch break.

  4. Tony S

    For what it's worth..

    I was actually considering a project for a dissertation on the topic of mobile use. I get the feeling that in most cases, people get more stressed when they don't have access to their mobiles; for example, if they lose signal, if they have to turn it off when on a plane, in a cinema / theatre, etc. I think the observational evidence is pretty strong and some research might well confirm this.

    Mark Weiser of PARC first put forward the idea of "Ubiquitous" computing back in the 1980s; and he then subsequently proposed the concept of "Calm" computing where the technology is modified to make life easier. But although we see the growth of ubiquitous computing, there hasn't been as much work in the calm computing area.

    I would argue that the problem lies within the individual; most of the people that claim to be working in those later hours probably didn't get their work done when they should. In many cases, they don't understand how to use the tech to get it done more efficiently which is why they end up doing longer hours.

    Perhaps this highlights the need for better training?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: For what it's worth..

      I did see an abstract of a study some years back that suggested that Italian feel less sexually confident if deprived of their mobile for a few days.

      (the study used Italians, it wasn't suggesting this only happens to Italians)

  5. mark1978

    It's not always about just putting in the hours. You may need to do maintenance work out of hours, or you may need to chase up a supplier in America to get that server back online before the next working day.

  6. Pete 2


    I wonder if all the extra-curricular business fondling makes up for the time used during the working day on personal fondling? If so, it's just a time-shifting phenomenon, not extra work.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spending extra time

    I was involved in a university study of the effects of mobile working. We found that the majority of people felt less stress as they were able to leave work on time, get jobs done, collect the kids, commute etc and then pick up some work in the evening or at slack times. The ability to deal with things without having to be in the office was felt by the people surveyed to be a benefit and removed the stress of having the email in-tray heaped-up and waiting when they arrived at work in the morning.

    This has nothing to do with posture though, and the Physiologists are selling their own thing.

    Let's put the focus back where they want it and move the argument away from mobile services. What we need is a guide to good posture and perhaps a reminder to take regular breaks and to exercise. There should be an app for that.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Spending extra time

      I'm not a gym-rat, but I did discover that after doing a modest number of push-ups, like five, my body would automatically move into an upright, comfortable posture when I stood up again. Someone suggested it was due to stretching the muscles across the chest, and that the same benefit my to posture could be achieved by placing a hand in a doorway, and rotating my torso away from it (then repeat for the other arm).

      Ernest Hemingway was famous for only writing whilst standing up at a lectern.

  8. Andy 36

    Current economic climate can suck my plumbs

    I decided a few months ago, that my work issued Blackberry gets a battery pull when I leave the office (only cause Blackberry doesn't seem to have an adequate off button). People spend enough time at work, they shouldn't have to sacrifice their home and families lives just to line someone else's pockets. Most often enough, companies who need workers working extra unpaid hours have a overpaid and under-skilled management structure.

    When at work you give 100% so I can't see how my company or any company can incite fear in staff that if they don't hit unachievable targets then their out of a job, fear and uncertainty is not a good motivator and is counter productive. It would probably cost more to hire more staff and have a constant turnover due to retarded absent minded middle managers and above setting unachievable targets.

    If any company wants more work out of you, they need to pay more be it in cash or shares but no one gets a free ride in my book!

    </rant over>

  9. Number6

    Mobile-free zone

    My house has very poor mobile reception and too often I find that I've missed a call because the mobile was put down somewhere with no signal. Sad, isn't it.

    Because my last few jobs have been with multinational companies, I do occasionally dip into work email during the evening if I know that someone in the US is having problems, although that's my choice and they can always wait for the following day if I've got something better to do. On the upside, if I need to nip out to the shops during office hours, I'm free to do so. If it's a balanced exchange then everyone gains, it's only if the give and take are mismatched that it becomes a problem.

  10. ravenviz

    Work to live. Not the other way around.

  11. adam payne Silver badge

    I find it difficult to switch off after i've left work. I'm just plain too busy in an under staffed department.

  12. xyz

    Aw c'mon, they're farting about on

    Facew4nk most of the day and most of the night... and the only health danger to them is themselves when they are crossing the road (or my path).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "Mobile Device Enslavement"

    No - it's enslavement (or at least serfdom), pure and simple. Except for special cases where there is a need to be on-call, you ought to be able to turn off from the job at the end of the working day.

    People really need to get it clear in their heads that this sort of expectation is just not acceptable. Of course, it does mean lack of advancement and maybe greater spells of unemployment, but that's a risk I'd take. Fuck the slavemasters.

  14. LB
    Thumb Down

    Mobile Device Enslavement

    No chance not here, we set propper targets and do not use slaves.

  15. aiop
    Thumb Down

    Misplaced competitiveness?

    I can recall some years back when American style work habits drifted across the pond - Personnel become Human Resources so faces and names became cogs and performance was king.

    The performance doctrine here was so badly applied that people felt they had to work harder and faster or they'd lose their jobs to the plentiful supply out there in the Jobcentres (not the staff I might add).

    IBS, dicky stomachs, stress, blood pressure, all part of the modern way now - all this extra work being done for nowt is standard, we set the new minima these days and employers raise the bar so you cannot do less OR you're out and down the Jobcentre.

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