Even your boss just can’t get enough of the ‘Crackberry’

Published on Sunday 25 October, 2009. 

Top execs are just as addicted as their employees when it comes to the BlackBerry’s ease of use, says John Reynolds

MORE than half of employees with a company BlackBerry or smartphone check and respond to their emails before they go to bed and first thing in the morning — clocking up an average of 15 extra hours of work a week, according to a recent survey by employment law firm Peninsula Ireland.

Perhaps it’ll be some consolation to employees that their boss is in the same boat — they too are inseparable from their BlackBerries or their mobiles (with the exception of Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, who has neither a BlackBerry nor a computer, according to his spokesman).

Despite the advantage of having scores of personal assistants, secretaries and teams of employees, the Sunday Independent discovered that many of our well-known business chiefs admit that they’ve succumbed to what has become known as the ‘Crackberry’ phenomenon.

Aidan Heavey, CEO, Tullow Oil

“I travel a lot so when I’m on holiday I like to stay at home, but it’s very difficult. It’s all work. I don’t relax. I can’t turn off. I look at my BlackBerry every 10 seconds. I check it when I’m going up in ski lifts and drive my playing partners mad by answering emails on the golf course.

“They’re the best and worst invention ever. They mean that you work 24 hours a day and you don’t get holidays.”

David Horgan, MD, Petrel Resources

“For me it’s addictive enough to be a ‘Crackberry’, although the internet is awkward and slow on it. I’m on my third BlackBerry at this stage, and I have it by the bed, usually in silent mode, but sometimes in ‘calls only’ mode.

“I sometimes have to use an older phone, as long as I have a SIM card for it, particularly if I’m going into a mine, skiing or sailing, as the BlackBerry doesn’t agree with altitude, dampness or harsh weather.

“In a week I’d notch up about 12 hours on the BlackBerry, including emails, calls and texts. The advantage is that nobody knows where you are, but then the the disadvantage is that you never, or else very rarely, get a chance to switch off completely.”

Patrick Coveney, CEO, Greencore

“I use an older Nokia mobile for calls and a BlackBerry for emails and appointments; I have them both by the bed at night and I’d probably clock up 10 to 15 hours a week on the phone and between five and 10 hours emailing.

“My holidays this summer were spent in Spain and Cork, from where I’d check my emails at least three times a day. It’s less stressful to deal with issues as they arise rather than having to deal with a vast logjam on my return to the office.”

Robert Finnegan, CEO, 3 Mobile

“At the moment I am using our new Sony Ericsson W995. I try as much as possible to ‘test drive’ our latest mobiles.

“I spend most of my time on my mobile phone as it allows me to keep in touch with our teams across the business and receive sales figures and new customer numbers by email. Recently, to wind down, I was able to watch live streaming on it of Padraig Harrington playing in the cliffhanger final at the US PGA.

“Our parent company, Hutchison Whampoa, is based in Hong Kong and with a seven-hour time difference a call may come at any time, so I sometimes use the phone in bed at night.

“My most recent holiday was here in Ireland and yes, I had my mobile with me. It’s like my wallet and I bring it everywhere with me. I like to stay in touch with our teams and up to date on all the happenings across our business, and what’s taking place in the wider world.”

Gerry McCaughey, Founder, Century Homes

“I have an iPhone and a Nokia E51 — one is for US calls and the other is for Europe.

“I’d probably spend three or four hours a day, up to 20 hours a week, calling and emailing on them. My phones are close at all times and, yes, beside the bed at night, especially as I live 6,000 miles away from family.

“My last holiday was in Santa Barbara, California, and I have to confess that I used both phones to do a bit of work. Whenever I travel, I find that I have to take a small carry-on bag with all my electronics, phones, computer, camera, backup hard drive and chargers.”

Sean Gallagher, Co-founder, Smarthomes

“At the moment I think it’s a Nokia I’ve got, but I’m signing up for a new iPhone next month. Time to join the really cool and up-to-date brigade. I like the size of text and its screen and the ease-of-use aspect of it.

“I find that one phone is more than enough for any human to contend with. My phone’s always with me and really it’s more about staying connected than anything. I sleep with it beside the bed and, as I’m now newly single, I realise how sad that sounds.

“My last holiday was on a fitness and health week in St Lucia and it took some serious restraint to stop me checking my phone.

“I nearly always forget to take phone chargers with me when I go abroad and end up sweet talking some hotel receptionist to come to my aid. Not the most exciting of chat-up lines, I know.”

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