Few limits on employees’ use of wireless devices in off hours: SHRM

1 in 5 firms have formal policy in place
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 07/17/2012

The proliferation of BlackBerrys, iPhones, tablets and other electronic devices allows employees to stay connected to work 24-7.

But employees in the United States generally control whether they use wireless devices during off hours, according to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

One in five (21 per cent) of organizations have a formal policy that limits employees’ use of wireless devices such as cellphones, smartphones and tablets during non-working hours. Twenty-six per cent have informal policies limiting their use, according to Technology and Its Impact on Employees during Nonworking Hours.

Of the employers that don’t have formal or informal policies, 87 per cent say they allow employees to set their own limits on the use of wireless devices.

“Employers are not creating policies that delve into employees working outside of the traditional workday,” said Evren Esen, manager of SHRM’s Survey Research Center. “Whether an employee responds to email at night or during the weekend is usually linked to organizational norms. If there is such an expectation, then employees are likely to follow suit.”

For those employers with formal policies, the limits may be put in place to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime requirements for non-exempt employees. In addition, 27 per cent of these organizations mentioned a concern for work-life balance in limiting the amount of time employees are connected to work during non-working hours, found the survey.

Informal policies are communicated to employees directly by supervisors and managers in 81 per cent of organizations that have them.

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