Balancing act: How connected is too connected when it comes to work?

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10 2013 8:30 a.m. MST

And if my boss is making that effort, I definitely answer right away, even if I'm at home in the evening or on a weekend. Again, I know enough about him to know that he wouldn't call unless he had an excellent reason.

The GetVoIP survey broke the results down by respondents' salary, and that was also enlightening. It showed that 54 percent of people who make $100,000 to $149,999 per year would always answer a call from the boss. For all lower-income categories, that number ranged from 32 percent ($75,000-$99,999) to 39 percent ($50,000-$74,999).

I think it's interesting that the second-highest-paid group was not as likely to answer the boss's call as those who are paid less. It seems like many middle managers would land in the higher category and would feel obligated to answer a call from the head honcho, but apparently that's not the case.

And at any rate, it may be better for the employee, the boss and the company if calls are avoided outside of regular work hours.

I hadn't considered the regulatory aspect of this, but the GetVoIP statement said that the U.S. Department of Labor has rules addressing whether workers should be compensated for answering calls and emails from home. However, the statement said, "businesses and employees alike are still learning to navigate the etiquette and legalities of after-hours communication.

"Having guidelines in the employee handbook that clarify what is expected can help ease stress for workers who aren’t sure how to handle after-hours phone calls from upper management."

I can see how such guidance would be helpful, but I wonder whether they would be followed. With communication as ubiquitous and easy as it is today, people seem to be getting more comfortable with the idea of always being just a call, text or tweet away from everyone they know.

I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing, though it's not always a bad thing, either.

What do you think? How often would you answer a call from your boss outside of business hours? Why would or wouldn't you answer that call? And do you think it's a net positive or negative to be easily connected to work whether you're at the office or at home?

Leave a comment or send me an email explaining your thoughts on this, and I'll share some of your responses in a future column.

Email your comments to kratzbalancingact@gmail.com or post them online at deseretnews.com. Follow me on Twitter at gkratzbalancing or on Facebook on my journalist page.

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