Why do you think they call it a Crackberry?

Janet Babin Aug 25, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: Cell phones are bad enough. But it seems nowadays everybody’s got a Blackberry or a Treo. Something that keeps them connected 24 hours a day. Companies love it. Think of all the extra work they can squeeze out of you if they can reach you whenever they want. But two new studies suggest employees are spending way too much time tethered to the office. From the Marketplace Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio, Janet Babin reports.

JANET BABIN: It’s August — in most of the world, time for vacation. Maybe you’re at that beach house right now, just relaxing. But wait, the back of your neck is aching. That vein on the side of your head throbbing. Yep. You were looking down — down at the latest ping from your Blackberry.

Rutgers University professor Gayle Porter says that’s one of the first signs of Blackberry addiction:

GAYLE PORTER:“The giveaway is usually when friends and family start to complain that you’re never looking at them anymore. You’re still looking down at your little electronic devices.”

Porter co-authored a study about technology addiction. It warns businesses they may be sued by employees who feel management encouraged them to spend too much quality time with their handhelds.

Another study out this week from Korn-Ferry International found that a third of the executives think the electronic umbilical cord is a little too tight.

But Zach Duval says wireless e-mail helps him be more efficient at the law firm he works at. So, don’t ask him to give it up:

ZACH DUVAL:“Well, I . . . I . . . I like it. And it’s a . . . I tell people that it really does become an addiction. . . .”

Three-quarters of those in the Korn-Ferry study reported that technology helps them spend more time with their families and less time at work.

In New York, I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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