How has mobile technology impacted your work-life balance?


Are you a chronic smartphone or tablet user, who regularly checks emails and conducts business outside of normal work hours? Federal Times wants to hear from you.

How has this technology impacted your work-life balance? Are you a federal employee, manager or contractor, who knows when to power off, or are you struggling to keep personal and work issues separate? Please comment below or contact Nicole Blake Johnson at 703-750-8145 or



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  1. I returned my crackberry and laptop. I work enough in the office as it is (typical work week is 55 to 60 hours, with at least one weekend day per week in the office). TDYs are even busier as we try to cram two weeks into one to save dollars.

    I told my boss that there are 168 hours in a week. My salary is based on a 40 hour week and I am already giving more than a reasonable amount for free; thus, if I am expected to answer emails and calls at any time, I want a 420% increase in my salary to proportionately match 168 hours with 40.

  2. My iPhone and iPad have changed my working habits drastically. I wake up in the morning and immediately check my email. I’ve had to make it a rule to not respond to emails as soon as they come in. It takes a lot of discipline to check your email and not actually respond. But I know if I do, I will be all over the place throughout the day and nothing will get done. Great topic?

  3. I know it seems a bit pedantic for some, but one piece of language I’m trying to reform is the use of the term “work/life balance.” If language shapes our reality even just a little bit, then “work/life balance” – although its meant to be have positive connotations – must be reinforcing some negative views of life for all of us. Work and life are not somehow distinct “realities” that we can balance. “Work” is surely not meant to be devoid of “life.” Equally, considered, engaged and relational work can surely be part of a highly connected, health-ful life (even potentially a very big part of it). I know the term is coined to try to get us to live in a more “balanced” way but I suspect it simply allows those who see “work” and “life” as mechanically disconnected realities, to continue with that problematic viewpoint – and to continue tinkering with work to make it a “bit more friendly” rather than reforming the notion of work and its part in a whole life..

  4. Another side to the issue:

    Working for the Air Force, we are saddled with the DoD prohibition of plugging thumb drives and data cards into our computers. Yet we are expected to write reports using photographs taken by cameras which cannot transfer data any other way. [Yeah, they gave us a work-around option, issuing us portable hard drives that could download SD cards. However, they included the brand-new devises in the ban as soon as they arrived, leaving us to take the data cards home, transfer the pictures to CDs, using our own computers, and bring them back to work. ]

    So, some of us have taken to using our own phones to take the pictures, and then emailing them to our computer. Yes, the resolution is not quite as good as pix from our issued high-tech, but useless, cameras, but it’s good enough for government work; and yes, we don’t get reimbursed for the cost of using our phones, but some of us have unlimited data and text plans.

    Another wrinkle is that our base requires us to document all long distance calls using their WATS line. It’s worth avoiding the hassle by making official calls using our own cells.

  5. Comment is response to “Norm from GA”:
    Transferring data from your own computer or smart phone to a government computer induces a risk of transferring vuruses or other malware onto the government computer. DoD guidelines discouraging/prohibiting this practice is clear. You should probably discuss this with your base IT personnel to avoid potential problems.

    As far as logging official long-distance calls: That should be considered not only an OPSEC risk (whose business is it regarding your official communications?), but cost prohibitive as well. The time spent logging the call as well as the time spent from anyone monitoring this most likely far exceeds the cost of the call.

  6. Hey “grumpy”, you want to hear GRUMPIER?

    We are saddled with a DoD who ENCOURAGED us to get involved with social media, are looking at using commerically available “clouds” to store all our essential data, and is looking to extensively use smartphones and tablets, nearly all manufactured overseas.

    Yet, they tell us that the same great security software that is supposedly able to check our messages and contacted websites for malware is not able to check out a 128 MB thumbdrive or SD card for viruses.

    Oh yeah, the relative OPSEC risk between landlines and over-the-air communication was officially “determined” when they took away our Palm pilots and replaced them (at least for VIPs) with Crackberries.

    And, like I said before about the photos, we tried all the approved work-arounds…they just don’t work.

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