More and more Canadians are using technology to stay connected to the office outside of work, according to a new survey released on Family Day.

The Angus Reid Institute poll found 41 per cent of people check work email during off-hours, and 30 per cent respond to work messages in their free time.

“Checking in is the new normal,” the survey declared.

Surprisingly, most respondents said they see smart phones and the Internet as a net positive for employed people, even though only nine per cent said the technology actually reduces the amount of time they spend working.

“You don’t have to be stuck at your desk in an office to be doing your job, you can be somewhere else,” Angus Reid’s Shachi Kurl said Monday. “The flexibility piece of it clearly is something that Canadians appreciate.”

About a third of respondents said mobile technology is an overall negative, however, because of the expectations on employees to work in their personal time.

Half of people described email and the Internet as “vital” to their job, while a quarter said both are “very important,” though the results varied by industry, with the most support coming from the knowledge and creative sectors.

Those with a university degree were also about twice as likely to describe the communication tools as vital compared to those who didn’t go beyond high school.

Angus Reid surveyed 1,508 Canadian adults who are company panelists from January 15 to 19. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Shannon Paterson