Using Cellphone For Work At Home Can Damage Marriage, Both Spouses’ Careers

ARLINGTON, Texas — Business should apparently never be mixed with pleasure — if it involves your cellphone. A recent study finds that using a mobile device at home for work purposes not only causes strain on a marriage, but it can also be damaging to both spouses’ work lives too.

The team of American researchers say that a workers report worsened job satisfaction and performance when a worker frequently uses his or her cellphone to conduct business during family time.

“There is plenty of research on technology and how it affects employees,” says co-author Wayne Crawford, an assistant professor of Business at the University of Texas, Arlington, in a release. “We wanted to see if this technology use carried over to affect the spouse negatively at work.”

For the study, the authors surveyed 344 married couples. All participants worked full-time and often used their mobile devices at home for work purposes. Results showed that stepping away for work when spending time with the family creates marital tension that winds up making work more difficult for both spouses.

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“It’s really no surprise that conflict was created when a spouse is using a mobile device at home. They’re sometimes engaging in work activities during family time. What that ultimately leads to, though, is trouble at work for both spouses,” says Crawford. “So, whether companies care or don’t care about employees being plugged in, those firms need to know that the relationship tension created by their interaction with their employees during non-work hours ultimately leads to work-life trouble.”

The implications could be far-reaching for businesses trying to woo qualified candidates and maintain a culture of support and health at the office. Employees doing extra work at home appear to be coming back to work less motivated and willing to go the extra mile in the office.

The study was published December 7, 2017 in The Journal of Occupational Health and Psychology.