Font Size: A A A

Home > News > Interviews > Work-life blending


Work-life blending

New skills that are enabling people to intertwine their work and personal lives, it’s claimed. The extent to which workers will go to achieve this raises important security issues for European businesses to address, such as the rise of ‘hired hackers’.

Three quarters of the European workers involved in the People-Inspired Security study for Samsung are work-life blending by doing personal tasks in work time (75 per cent) and work tasks in their personal time (77 per cent). The 1000 UK workers who took part are slightly less likely to blend, with 65 per cent doing personal tasks in work time, and 62 per cent doing vice versa. Visit

In line with the rest of Europe, nearly four in every ten UK workers (39 per cent) say work-life blending helps them get more work done in the same amount of time. Over a third of UK respondents (34 per cent) believe it helps them manage their personal tasks better, and 28 per cent say it makes them less stressed.

As for mobile devices’ part in work-life blending, UK workers have on average nine personal apps, such as Facebook, Whatsapp or Candy Crush, on their work-issued smartphones, and eight work-related apps, such as Microsoft Outlook or Lync, on their personal smartphones. Over four in ten (41 per cent) use the same personal smartphone for work and personal purposes.

Graham Long, Vice President, Enterprise Business Team, Samsung UK and Ireland, said: “With the rise of mobile devices in the workplace it’s not surprising that work and life tasks are starting to blend. There is increasing demand from people to be able to do more on one device – whether that’s to work remotely or spend time online shopping during their commute – and a clear challenge for businesses to embrace new ways of working but ensure all devices are highly secure and efficient. Neglecting security can be a very expensive mistake to make. It’s for this reason that a tool like Samsung KNOX is so important: among other things it allows employees to switch between personal apps and a password-protected workspace on the same device, as circumstances demand.”

The rise of hired hackers

The study also uncovers ‘hired hackers’: increasingly empowered and tech-savvy EU workers who use the technology of their choice to get the job done, regardless of work restrictions. For example:

• Almost three in ten (29 per cent) of UK respondents have used their own technology to get around company-imposed obstacles to doing work (e.g. by using personal smartphones to access websites, such as file-sharing site Dropbox, that may be blocked on work-owned devices)

• Notably, over one third of UK Millennials, aged 18 to 34 are hired hackers (37 per cent) – the highest proportion of any UK age group in the study

• Italians are most likely to be hired hackers (34 per cent), and office workers in Belgium and The Netherlands are least likely (19 per cent)

Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, Consumer and Business Psychologist at University College London, says: “Samsung’s study suggests that just as people solve problems and improve their personal lives by ‘life-hacking’, many workers are using technology for the same ends. Millennials, who’ve grown up with mobile technology, are natural drivers of this trend, using their digital native intelligence to make IT work for them. Research of this kind is invaluable as it paves the way to innovations, both behavioural and technological, that contribute to our overall well-being in both work and private life. If they haven’t already, European organisations need to design their work and security policies, and technology strategy, with this employee behaviour in mind.”

The research also indicates confusion among European office workers – especially UK workers – around what to do regarding mobile devices and IT security. For example:

• Over one third of Britons (36 per cent), compared to 29 per cent of all European respondents, use their personal devices in the office for work purposes despite not knowing, or caring, whether they are actually allowed to (eg. they might use a personal tablet computer to send work emails regardless of work policy on such activity)

• Over two thirds of UK workers (67 per cent), compared to 55 per cent of all respondents, don’t know if their company has a mobile security policy, or if they do either are unaware of its contents or actively ignore it

Educating staff about the secure use of company data is becoming increasingly important, especially in light of the EU General Data Protection Regulation expected later this year. The latest draft of the regulation proposes that fines of up to 100 million euros or five per cent of annual worldwide turnover, whichever is greater, should be imposed on businesses that break the rules, for example by not processing data securely.

Other findings of research include:

• For over one third of UK respondents (38 per cent), blending work and personal activities on one device makes them feel more productive overall

• Over one third of UK workers (37 per cent) say that their work and personal life are more blended now than they’ve ever been

• Seventy six per cent of UK respondents who do personal tasks during work time spend up to half an hour on average each day paying bills or doing banking

• Sixty two per cent of those who work in their personal time spend up to 45 minutes on average each day doing so before they officially start work

• Italians are the top work-life blenders, with 90 per cent working during personal time and 86 per cent doing vice versa.

About the research

The pan-European findings are based on a study conducted by independent market researchers, OnePoll, between 27 May and 9 June 2014, with office workers who use mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets or laptops, in some way for work. This research involved 4,500 respondents: 1000 each in UK, Germany and France, and 500 each in Spain, Italy and Belgium and The Netherlands. Findings for Belgium and The Netherlands take into account both OnePoll’s pan-European survey and a survey by Vision Critical of another 662 people in these two countries, conducted between 16 to 20 June.



Related News