August 14th, 2008
04:09 PM GMT
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I went on a holiday to a remote beach resort in Egypt a few years ago. It was the best holiday I've had - because my husband's BlackBerry did not work there.

OK, I admit, this was before I got a BlackBerry from my office. And, since getting one, I am quite hooked as well.

Do I check it at home? Yes. Do I check it on weekends? Just a few times. Do I take it on holiday? Yes. Do I sleep with it under my pillow? NO!

That's what one worker from London's business district told me when I stopped him on the street to ask him if he uses a BlackBerry.

"Incessantly" was his reply. He said it never leaves his side, that he takes it on vacation, and that he sleeps with under his pillow.

Surprised? Perhaps this statistic will surprise you more: 83 percent of people surveyed in London's financial district by Credant Technologies admitted they're taking their BlackBerries or office mobile phones along with them on holiday this year.

Almost two thirds of London brokers said they contacted their office while they were vacationing.

Life coach Rebekah Fensome, whose office is a stone's throw away from London's financial area, says the numbers don't surprise her.

It's a reflection of the times we are in, she says. The financial downturn means people are insecure about their jobs, worried they will be made redundant, concerned about their salaries and bonuses - so they feel the need to constantly check in with their offices.

"We call it the city paranoia," says Yvonne Eskenzi of Credant.

"With the recession, people are far more keen to check their emails at work, to make sure colleagues are not muscling in on their work, to make sure they're not missing any work in the office," she says.

Fensome says she understands why some people feel the need to check their BlackBerries all the time. People tell her it helps them succeed at work. That if they are able to check their emails while on holiday, it means less stress when they return to the office.

Others, like the city worker who sleeps with his BlackBerry under his pillow, say they thrive on it.

Burnout. That's what will happen, warns Fensome, if BlackBerry users aren't careful about how many times they check for that flashing red light.

"To be really successful in your work life, you need to understand you also need to take breaks," she warns. Otherwise, it could lead to psychosomatic issues such as fear, worries, insominia which comes through stress.

Also, wider issues around relationship breakups and problems with being able to engage in family life when you go back home."

With that, I think Fensome is right on the mark. I know so many grumbling spouses/partners who want to chuck an unwelcome BlackBerry into the deep end of the pool or off a mountain when it comes along on a holiday.

Do you feel the same way? Or do you take your BlackBerry along as well?

"She gets pretty irate with me, my girlfriend when I am supposed to be on holiday on the beach and I am checking my BlackBerry," said another City worker to me. Do you blame his girlfriend? I'd love to know what you think.

As for the City man who sleeps with his BlackBerry under his pillow? I forgot to ask him if he has a partner.

And if my husband tried that? Well, the BlackBerry would be under the couch. Because that's where he'd be!

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