The upside to being always on at work

'The fastest way for me to go insane would be to try to work regular hours.'

Traci Fiatte likes checking her emails on Sunday evening. It helps her feel ready for the week ahead.

But about five years ago, Fiatte, the group president at staffing firm Randstad US, realised that her own workaholic tendencies sometimes had a chilling effect on employees.

"What I saw in exit interviews was that people were not wanting to get promoted because they were afraid that a promotion came with no personal life," says Fiatte.

"It was an eye opener. They were doing it because I was doing it."

Like Fiatte, more of us are working around the clock and checking in on the office when we're supposed to be enjoying downtime.

Habits of successful business leaders

  • Before bed

    To relax after a busy day, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has said he likes to read for an hour before bed, even if it's late. "It's part of falling asleep," Gates once told The Seattle Times.

  • Before bed

    Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg makes sure to disconnect before bed, turning off her phone.

  • Before bed

    American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault writes down three things he wants to accomplish the following day.

  • Before bed

    Media mogul and businesswoman Oprah Winfrey has said she mediates twice a day, once in the morning and then again before going to bed.

  • Before bed

    Ariana Huffington told CNBC every night she turns off her electronic devices, takes a hot bath, changes into pyjamas and reads a physical book.

  • Before bed

    Joel Gascoigne, CEO of social media company Buffer, takes a 20-minute walk every evening. The quiet time lets him disconnect from work, he wrote in a company blog post in 2011.

  • Before breakfast

    Chairman and CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz wakes up at 4:30 every morning to walk his three dogs and then goes for a bike ride.

  • Before breakfast

    Ursula Burns, chairwoman and CEO of Xerox, wakes up at 5:15 a.m. and immediately checks her email. Burns also has a personal training session twice a week at 6 a.m.

  • Before breakfast

    Warren Buffett said he reads - a lot. He said he starts his mornings reading The Wall Street Journal, followed by USA Today and Forbes.

  • Before breakfast

    Makeup vlogger-turned-millionaire entrepreneur Michelle Phan checks email in the shower (thanks to a reliable waterproof case), does squats while brushing her teeth, and does pushups while reading more emails.

  • Before breakfast

    Twitter co-founder and Square CEO Jack Dorsey wakes up every morning at 5 a.m. and then takes 30 minutes to meditate. He then goes for a 6-mile run and then brews a fresh pot of coffee.

  • Before breakfast

    After getting up at 5 am, the founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, said he catches up on the news, replies to emails, organises his day, and exercises, Inc. reports.

  • Before breakfast

    For Mark Cuban, "Shark Tank" investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, every morning starts with work - right from bed.

More than half of the people surveyed in 2013 by the American Psychological Association reported checking their work messages at least once a day during weekends, vacations and when they are out sick.

But, that's not such a bad thing for everyone, says David Ballard, assistant executive director for organisational excellence at the American Psychological Association.

Many workers in the APA survey reported being happy about the ability to blend their work and personal lives.

About 71 per cent surveyed said they had control over their hours and 56 per cent said technology makes it easier to get their work done.

"The positive aspect was a surprise," says Ballard. "People related that it enhanced their productivity, increased flexibility and made it easier for them to get work done."

Chris Hale, who started trade financing firm Kountable in 2014, doesn't mind checking in on work while on holiday because it allows him to keep running his business while spending time with family and friends.

Last summer, while on a live-aboard-boat with his family, he had an emergency call with an investor.

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