Sydney : BlackBerry users can’t agree on whether they love or hate the device, but they are sure of one thing: it gives them very little time off work, or what is known as “corporate downtime”.
The use of BlackBerry has grown rapidly in the past six years, evolving from a a senior management status symbol to a basic tool of trade, according to a University of Sydney study on how the device is being used.
A key finding of the study is that that BlackBerry is increasingly eating into travel or waiting time as more and more users use these slots to engage in e-mail activity than ever before, ScienceAlert reported.
“Some companies felt they needed to be seen by competitors and customers as using the latest technology. But we found most organisations treated BlackBerries as an extension of the mobile phone, thus assigning the management of this technology to purchasing departments,” said Kristine Dery, who led the study.
Dery conducted 30 in-depth interviews with BlackBerry users in two major banks based in Australia and Paris.
She said while some interviewees liked being able to clear e-mails in cabs, in lifts or on the way to work so they can “hit the ground running” when they arrive, others resented losing valuable reading and thinking space.
Interviewees often spoke about the love-hate relationship they had with their BlackBerries, using terms such as “Faustian pact” and “Trojan Horse”, she said.
Unlike a laptop, BlackBerries were seen as more accessible and mobile, and therefore more prone to blur the lines between work and personal lives, the study found.
Interviewees typically commented that they felt “switched on to work” from the moment they left home in the mornings.
“I don’t read anymore on the way to or from work” reported one senior employee of a major Australian financial services firm as he described how his two-hour commute each day had become his time for clearing e-mails.
“One interviewee said he took holidays in remote parts of China to avoid being contacted. But others who were given BlackBerrys when they went on holidays were unwilling to hand them back when they returned.