No Place Too Sacred For Texting

If you thought you heard keyboard tapping during a recent restroom visit but dismissed the thought as silly, you likely heard correct, as a study reports that workers are messaging everywhere, and at all hours, in response to work demands.

An increasing pressure to stay in touch with the job is leading to messaging addiction, according an Osterman Research report released today entitled “Mobile Messaging Marketing Trends.” The addiction is leading to “risky” mobile device user behavior, according to the report’s findings.

The study states 40 percent of mobile device users are messaging during flights, a no-no according to federal aviation rules; 77 percent admit to texting or e-mailing while driving, an act outlawed by state motor vehicle rules, and 79 percent fess up to messaging while in restroom locations.

Even romantic moments are now messaging moments, with 11 percent polled admitting to messaging during intimate time, and 16 percent having texted or e-mailed during a funeral or memorial service.

“The availability of work-related tools that we can slip in our pockets gives us less ‘excuse’ to be away from work, since we’re never really away from those with whom we want to communicate, the files on which we need to work,” Michael Osterman, president, Osterman Research, told

The news comes as employees are increasingly concerned about job stability given rocky economic times, which analysts predict won’t settle down any time soon.

The study, commissioned by Neverfail, a disaster recovery software company, also supports other industry studies on how mobile devices are required workplace tools and immune to economic pressure.

A ChangeWave Research survey reported that nearly 12 percent of consumers polled plan to buy a particular brand of smartphone in the next two months — the highest level the analyst firm has reported in three years of research. A Kelton Research study reported that 84 percent of workers said the top advantage to working remotely is being productive during travel time, citing mobile devices as a key element to making telecommuting possible.

“One of the key payoffs [with mobile devices] is that workers have more flexibility,” said Osterman, noting work can be accomplished during leisure hours and spare person time.

“This ties well into the greater concept of mobility in which workers do not have a permanent workplace, but instead work from home and come into the office only when necessary,” said Osterman, adding that telecommuting is taking stronger hold due to savings on real estate and other overhead efficiencies.

According to Osterman, the desire to stay connected to work will increase as mobile device use grows in the next few years. The study reports that approximately 25 percent of workers use company-supplied mobile devices and expects that number will jump to 40 percent by mid-2010. The research firm said 47 percent of mobile device users check e-mail more than 10 times while at work, with 10 percent checking e-mail over 40 times each workday.

However, increased worker connectivity isn’t all positive. The Osterman study reports such workplace behavior is impacting the work-lifestyle balance, with 94 percent of workers now message outside of works hours, including weekends, and 80 percent take their workplace mobile device on vacation.

“The distinction between work and home life will become more blurry, prompting either burnout or deliberate actions on the part of people to do away with e-mail for certain periods,” Osterman said, sharing the example of a former boss who intentionally took vacations in locations where he could not be reached by telephone or e-mail.

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