SHRM Poll: Few Limits on Employees’ Use of Wireless Devices in Off Hours

Jul 16, 2012

SHRM Poll: Few Limits on Employees’ Use of Wireless Devices in Off Hours

ALEXANDRIA, Va. , July 16, 2012 — The proliferation of BlackBerrys, iPhones, tablets and other electronic devices allows employees to stay connected to work 24/7. But are employees tied to their wireless devices outside of work hours?

According to new research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees generally control whether they use wireless devices during off hours.

The SHRM survey “Technology and Its Impact on Employees during Nonworking Hours” shows that 21 percent of organizations have a formal policy that limits employees’ use of wireless devices such as cell phones, smart phones and tablets during nonworking hours. Twenty-six percent have informal policies limiting their use.

Of the employers that don’t have formal or informal policies, 87 percent 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 e-mail 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 Fair Labor Standards Act overtime requirements for nonexempt employees. In addition, 27 percent of these organizations mentioned a concern for work/life balance in limiting the amount of time employees are connected to work during nonworking hours.

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

The survey of randomly selected HR professionals is available online at

Media: For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at 703-535-6260 and

Follow SHRM’s Research Department on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

About the Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing about 260,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at
and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.


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