Academics call for out of office internet guidelines

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Logging back into work once home may make some workers more successful but, according to new research, they are also most likely to develop compulsive internet use and put their mental health at risk. The findings have led to calls for employers to be more aware of the risks to their employees’ health and put in place guidelines for staff on how to use the internet outside of the office safely.

Academics from Northampton Business School and Henley School of Business in the UK found from their study of 516 men and women – aged 18 to 65 – that hard workers with good jobs were most at risk of becoming addicted to the internet, and developing problems such as suffering from isolation, depression and anxiety.

Nada Kakabadse, Professor of policy, governance and ethics at Henley School of Business told The Daily Telegraph that staff developing compulsive behaviour spend increasing amounts of time online, waking up during the night to check their emails and their relationships begin to suffer.

“For overachievers it is worse and they are more likely to burn-out more quickly. They begin to lose judgement and make mistakes,” Kakabadse told the newspaper.

Co-author Dr Cristina Quinones-Garcia of Northampton Business School told The Daily Telegraph, “Organizations seem to focus on the extent to which individuals lose working hours using the internet for personal purposes.”

“However, those individuals who work long hours and use technology to work outside office hours are overlooked mainly due to their success.”

The academics called on companies to not underestimate the risks involved with encouraging excessive working. 

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