The scandal over explicit emails that cost Nancy Sebring her jobs as a school superintendent illustrates the perils of deteriorating distinctions between personal lives and professional responsibilities and raises questions about employers’ technology usage policies, experts say.
The Internet and mobile devices are imploding work-life boundaries by placing email and other office functions literally in employees’ pockets. Yet employer policies often still presume a clear separation between work and home and acknowledge only incidental intrusions from one side or the other.
That viewpoint, tech gurus, academics and IT officials said, is simply outdated.
“The big issue on a sociological basis for real people living in the real world is that you’ve attached yourself to the organizational email system, and you’re available practically 24/7 to the company,” said Anthony Townsend, an associate professor of information systems at Iowa State University. “To peel off from that to live your personal life — I think we’re almost asking too much of people to do that.”
Sebring resigned from her job in Des Moines and a new post she was to begin in Omaha after dozens of sexually charged messages were discovered on her district email account. The episode serves almost as a case study for how professionals today move seamlessly between life inside and outside the workplace, experts said.
Read more: http://www.indystar.com/article/D2/20120604/NEWS09/306040036/Scandal-raises-questions-about-technology-usage-policies?odyssey=nav%7Chead
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