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Generation Standby never goes offline

The rise of a new group of people who cannot separate work from personal tasks and social chit-chat has been identified by researchers.

Dubbed “Generation Standby” these people emerged from a study by software security company Clearswift in a report outlining the impact of social media and Web 2.0 on today’s workplace.

Generation Standby is so attuned to this way of working that even in these economically-challenging times, one-fifth (21%) would turn down a job that did not allow them to access social networking sites or personal email during work time.

The characteristics of this group are that they are regularly “home-ing” from work due to the increased pressure to work longer hours, regularly carrying out social and private tasks at work. The trend is most pronounced among 25–34 year olds, with 57% undertaking personal tasks such as checking social networks, email, online shopping at work. Although 66% of all employees say they make up the time they spend using the internet for personal reasons by working later or through lunch.

And it is men who are more likely to “home from work” than women:
* Logging into social networking sites: 48% men vs 36% of women;
* Checking personal email: 69% of men vs 54% of women;
* Shopping online: 34% of men vs 20% of women.

While the majority of employees are willing to be flexible when it comes to longer hours or different hours, as the business demands, they do expect some “give” in return:
* 79% respondents said over and above job role and pay, the most important things to them in a job included being trusted to manage their own time, and being trusted to use the internet as they wish.
* 62% of employees feel they should be able to access web/social networking content from their work computer for personal reasons (compared to 51% of managers) to complete “home-ing from work” tasks.

Hilary Backwell, Clearswift – Global HR Director said: “Call it multi-tasking or life-splicing but increasingly, fuelled by advances in technology, employees are blurring the boundaries between home and work. What this report has shown is that ‘Generation Standby’ employees are now enjoying, and expecting, greater levels of flexibility and mobility than ever before – but this cultural shift raises new questions about trust in the workplace, the use of new technologies, the balance of power in the employer v employee relationship and levels of control that businesses now have over people and content.”

Recruitment today       Tuesday 25th May 2010

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