What are we afraid of missing?

According to Kforce, 25% of people check their work email hourly while on vacation. Hourly. That’s not daily, or a few times a day. That’s once an hour. A 2010 Xobni study found that most of us are less obsessive, but equally hooked: It found that 72% of Americans and 68% of Brits “regularly” check their business email on vacations, sick days, and at home in bed. (In bed?)

Clearly, most people who are employed are concerned they might miss something significant at work when they’re not there. Not something so important that the office would call them, because they are needed. (After all, almost everyone can be reached nearly anytime, anywhere, thanks to cell phones.) But… something they might want to know now.

Why do we feel compelled to stay connected? I can think of four possible reasons.

Option 1: We want to. We want to know what’s happening and stay on top of things.

Option 2: We’ve been told to. Maybe we work for obsessive people who want us to stay abreast of what’s going on back at the office.

Option 3: We’re just curious about what’s happening when we’re away.

Option 4: We can’t accept the idea that the work world will continue to revolve without us.

I admit it: I check e-mail when I’m off work. Not usually every hour but frequently. Smartphones make it convenient and easy and mine’s usually no further than an arm’s reach away. Does that make me obsessive?

What about you?

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