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Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work Hardcover – May 8, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Ms. Perlow’s advice should be taken seriously” — The Economist

“The great thing about Harvard Business School Professor Perlow's book is that she makes it clear that companies can actually change the way they work and break the 24/7 habit.” — Huffington Post

“Our refusal to break from work often actually reduces our effectiveness and can even lead to burnout. How can you learn to let go? In Sleeping with your Smartphone, Leslie Perlow suggests that part of a leader’s job is to teach his or her team to manage boundaries between work and private life. Disconnecting really is the solution: the workaholic consultants at Boston Consulting Group are proof. They made the decision to disconnect from work at given times, reviewed their work methods, and found ways to work and live better!” — Business Digest (France)

"A well-presented book with lots of practical tips for the workaholics! Even if change cannot be achieved at the organisation level you still get the sense that by making some small changes to how you work you can achieve a better home-work life balance." — BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT

“Perlow proves that we do not have to be hostages to our everyday devices - advice that is needed now more than ever.” — Business Executive

“So if you are looking for a way to be more effective as a manager, or team leader, turn off your phone and read Sleeping with Your Smartphone.” — The Chronicle Herald

Sleeping with Your Smartphone, should be required reading for any senior executive concerned about the dysfunctionality of "always-on" connectivity.” — The Observer (UK)

Sleeping with Your Smartphone provides excellent, proven principles for how to bring change into an existing corporate culture and how to empower employees to join in the fight to make the company better.” — Examiner.com

“If you’re looking for a book title that captures the frazzled, anxious life of executives who are too worried about work to ever unplug, you probably couldn’t do better than Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow’s new book, Sleeping With Your Smartphone.” — The Globe and Mail

“Leslie Perlow makes a strong case that you do not have to sleep with your smartphone, at least not every night.” — Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Sleeping With Your Smartphone will enlighten any team trying to sync among themselves while questioning the worthwhile of on-demand accessibility.” — Business Insider

ADVANCE PRAISE for Sleeping with Your Smartphone:

“Professionals of all kinds complain about the difficulty of balancing life and work, but no one has had much insight about how to fix the problem…until Leslie Perlow went out and did it. This book should be required reading for every consultant, manager, HR professional, and working parent with a demanding career.” — Chip Heath, coauthor, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

“Leslie Perlow has given us a modern masterpiece, the only book that really shows how to harness those irresistible electronic intruders that now invade our lives. Sleeping with Your Smartphone is packed with evidence and specific, useful steps for building productive and creative workplaces that bolster rather than destroy our sanity and humanity.” — Robert I. Sutton, professor, Stanford University; author, Good Boss, Bad Boss

“Leslie Perlow, one of today’s leading experts in how organizations really function, has applied her prowess to a question that bedevils every professional: what impact does working harder and longer have on our achievements and our happiness? The answers in this marvelous book reveal that keeping our lives in balance is more important than we ever imagined—for ourselves and our organizations.” — Clayton M. Christensen, author, How Will You Measure Your Life?

“Who doesn’t want to build more effective and engaged teams? Sleeping with Your Smartphone illustrates counterintuitive insights and practical actions to ‘get it all done’ in our multitasking, hyperconnected world. The book shows how teams can improve work-life balance and increase company engagement while upping their output—all with a few small, doable steps.” — Sara LaPorta, Senior Vice President, PepsiCo

Sleeping with Your Smartphone challenges the current belief that 24/7 is required for success and that we are hostages to our devices. Leslie Perlow’s strategy is brilliant because it proves that we can improve the way we live and work…by disconnecting.” — Kristin C. Peck, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Business Development & Innovation, Pfizer Inc.

“Truly inspiring! Sleeping with Your Smartphone shows that even in the most high-pressure environments, it is possible to disconnect and become more productive as a result. I am looking forward to implementing the strategy with my own teams.” — Deborah Ellinger, former President, Restoration Hardware

About the Author

Leslie Perlow is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School. She is the author of the books Finding Time (2007) and When You Say Yes But Mean No (2003).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1St Edition edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422144046
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422144046
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alisa M. Berman on June 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author is missing the point, the title is misleading. If you are looking to shift priorities and excel at work while still having happy, uninterrupted personal time on a daily basis, this book will not help you. This book is about giving people one 'night' (as in, you worked that day, but truly 'clock out' at 6pm) off per week, and it's something that must be done at the team or organizational level. One night per week is not enough for a real personal life, and, most workers who are sleeping with their smartphones don't have control of their team and/or organization. If you are an executive looking for a way to help your team to stop sleeping with their smart phones one day per week, this might be moderately useful for you. I found it to be highly disappointing and wish I could return a kindle book :(
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Format: Hardcover
Leslie A Perlow, of the Harvard Business Review, recently published Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work. The book details the experimental implementation of a predictable time-off policy within the Boston Consulting Group to have just one night off a week. Through the process, Perlow and her team learned that the time off resulted in more than just a night of rest, but also enabled the consultants from BCG to feel better about work and the clients to be happier with the work provided. How is it possible that working less time yielded better results?
If anything, BCG has one of the worst reputations for work-life balance. Consultants often travel four days a week and are glued to their smartphones. Emails are exchanged at all hours of the night and on weekends. So even when consultants aren't at work, they're still responsive to work issues. Perlow calls this the Cycle of Responsiveness. People feel pressured to be available for work, coworkers notice the availability and contact them, schedules adjust to allow for the responsiveness and the cycle continues until it creates a culture.
The experiment was simple. Each consultant on a team would take one night off each week. Just one night of not answering emails until midnight, not working on PowerPoint slides in the hotel room and not sitting in the client's conference room until 8pm. Perlow's thesis was that change needed to be implemented as a team to address the cultural roots of the Cycle of Responsiveness.
The experiment almost immediately ran into trouble. Consultants didn't want to appear lazy or entitled in front of their coworkers, so they'd skip the night off, but then resent anyone who didn't do the same.
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Format: Hardcover
"Sleeping with your Smartphone" is both academically rigorous and wonderfully readable. Perlow describes how her small field experiment at the Boston Consulting Group, done solely for research purposes, unleashed a global initiative that has involved over 1,000 teams and is mandated to be part of 80% of BCG teams globally by year end. The consultants she studied worked long hours and were expected to make work their top priority. When not at work, they incessantly checked their wireless devices to ensure that nothing new had come up. They put up with this pressure to always be available because they believed that to be successful in a professional service firm, they had to be accessible and willing to jump into action whenever called.

Unfortunately for them, this behavior created a "cycle of responsiveness" where genuine pressure to be on got amplified though the consultants' own actions. As they adjusted themselves to demands from clients and teammates by adapting the technology they used, altering their daily schedules, and modifying their interactions with their families and friends, their colleagues experienced this increased responsiveness, and their colleagues' own requests expanded rather than shrank. Interestingly, it was not the long hours or constant connectivity per se that bothered the consultants and led them to consider leaving the firm; it was the unpredictability of these hours. None of them could ever plan anything in the middle of the week.

As expected, the consultants could not break the cycle of responsiveness alone. What is exciting and unexpected in the book is that fundamental change did not require top management support or buy-in from clients.
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Format: Hardcover
Leslie Perlow wrote an exceptional book about how to redesign work, improve team dynamics and enhance the individual's experience at work. She effectively challenges the notion that we need to be on 24/7 and remain permanently connected to the workplace. As a working parent, I applaud Leslie for addressing this issue with practical tips that any manager can implement after reading this book. If we all follow this advice, we can improve our satisfaction at work and have more more quality time with our families - a real win-win!
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Based on the title, I thought this would be a great, timely topic. However, the whole experiment described in the book centers around the employees taking ONE night off per week, starting at 6pm. The title held such promise. The book, not so much.
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