Smart use of smartphones after hours (Toughest HR Question)

Best practices for helping to avoid unpaid overtime claims
By Brian Kreissl
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/30/2014

Question: We have heard a number of stories recently involving workers claiming overtime because they were required to respond to emails on their smartphones after hours. What are the best practices here? Do we need a policy banning it or can it be expected that answering an email or two after hours is part of the job and, therefore, not considered overtime?

Answer: It is particularly ironic that I actually wrote a significant portion of this article on my BlackBerry after hours. However, I am a manager who is ineligible for paid overtime and I was making up for lost time due to an appointment earlier in the day.

My own personal experience illustrates how the use of technology can actually be a bit of a double-edged sword in many respects. On the one hand, tools such as smartphones, tablets and laptops make it easier for employers to extend the workday and place obligations on employees even if they’re offsite and it’s after hours. Such tools can negatively impact work-life balance.