We can’t get away from being connected. We always have our devices with us and we are always “on.” Even the commute is a time to talk to colleagues and call clients. In Hong Kong, you get to choose between sections in the restaurants that permit or ban cellphone use, like smoking and non-smoking. Even when you try to get away for a vacation, work comes with you. You used to be safe from work on airplanes but that changed, too. The ability to connect all over the world 24/7 further erodes your personal time. If you have offices in Asia, you are working the 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. If offices are in Europe and you are in the Americas, you might be up at 3 a.m. to conduct business. You are expected to be everywhere all the time.
This has all happened so fast that the average worker feels overwhelmed. Afraid to say “no,” many people don’t want to tell their employers not to call on the weekend, or after 7 p.m., or in the morning before they get into the office. The expectations of loyalty are not clear. What is reasonable is undefined. How many email accounts are reasonable? When is it reasonable to expect an email response? All of this connectivity has brought up work and life challenges. One is isolation. It sounds ironic that with all this connectivity, one of the most challenging aspects of The Pajama Effect is isolation.
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