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The mobile phone, perpetual contact and time pressure

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Mobile phone services are now universally diffused, creating the possibility of perpetual contact, regardless of time and location. Many think the impossibility of being ‘out of touch’ leads to increased time pressure. In addition to claims that the mobile phone has led to harried leisure, others have argued that perpetual contact extends work into the home or intensifies work in other ways. In this article, these issues are explored using survey data employing some novel methodologies — combining a questionnaire with logs of phone traffic recovered from respondents’ handsets and a purpose-designed time-diary of technology use. Overall, results show that mobile phone use is not associated with more harried leisure. Fears of work intruding into home life appear to be exaggerated. However, there is some evidence that frequent use of mobiles during working hours is associated with work intensification, at least among men.

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