Blackberry Users Could Sue

According to a YouGov poll of 251 blackberry users, comissioned by T-Mobile, 90% say their Blackberry is a business lifesaver.

Having the ability to respond to emails on the move helps Blackberry users avoid potentially damaging business situations, meet Service Level Agreements, and win new business.

However, a seperate study shows that users are becoming addicted to being online 24/7, and could potentially sue their employers. 

In the T-Mobile research, 40% of those polled admitted that a customer relationship would have been ruined had they not been able to reply to an email quickly. 68% believed that with Blackberry in hand they gave off a more professional air, and customers thought better of them.

Now that they have the technology, most users would be lost without it. Half said they would be worried about missing important phone calls and emails, a third said not having their Blackberry would leave them stressed when out of the office, 18% said they would not be able to cope with their workload, and more than one in ten said that if they had their Blackberry taken away they would be ‘devastated’!

T-Mobile’s Head of Business Marketing, Derek Williamson, said "Blackberry is no longer simply a nice-to-have, it is a crucial ingredient in business success. We live in a world where business is done anywhere, anytime, and the ability to check emails on the move is keeping Blackberry users one step ahead of the game. It is helping business avoid legal issues, improve customer service, and even convert new business leads. Mobile working has truly come of age."

However, there is new research that states users are becoming ‘addicted’ to being connected 24/7.

Although it might seem like a business’s wildest dreams to have willing employees available at a moment’s notice, a new report by Rutgers University School of Business says that employers may be liable for encouraging addiction.

Gayle Porter, an associate professor of management at the university said "Information and Communication Technology addiction has been treated by policy makers as a kind of elephant in the room… everyone sees it, but no one wants to acknowledge it directly. Owing to vested interests of the employers and the OCT industry signs of possible addiction, excess use of ICT and related stress illnesses, are often ignored".

Porter went on to compare technology addiction to chemical and substance abuse "Addiction to technology can be equally damaging to the mental health of the worker".

Helath & Safety laws have been in place for some time in order to protect employees, and to ensure that businesses warn their staff of potential dangers and promote a safe working environment. Porter suggested that the law should change in line with the times to include ICT.

"The pressure for using technology to stay connected 24/7 may carry employer responsibility for detrimental outcomes to the emploees" said Porter. However, determining who is liable will be hard to determine. "If people work longer hours for personal enrichment, they assume the risk. If an employer manipulates an individual’s propensity toward workaholism or thechnology addiction for the employer’s benefit, the legal perspective shifts. When professional advancement (or even survival) seems to depend on 24/7 connectivity, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between choice and manipulation."

As of yet there are no current court cases, but Porter suggests that businesses concerned for the well-being of their staff might want to keep an eye open for signs of addiction.

Maybe companies should be contacting T-mobile to check that none of their staff are in the ‘devastated’ 10%.

Maybe companies should be contacting T-mobile to check that none of their staff are in the ‘devastated’ 10%.

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