It was probably bound to happen. When the pandemic pushed many employees to at-home work, the already-fading lines between professional and personal blurred beyond recognition. This isn't just anecdotal fluff; Microsoft recently conducted research that revealed about a third of white-collar workers dig in for more work late in the evening, evidence that set work hours are no longer a given.

Couple this with the alarming trend of putting work on our mobile devices (71% of those surveyed in a 2018 Intermedia survey said mobile apps help them stay on top of work updates, a number that has likely increased since the remote work boom), and you have an "always on" scenario.

You can imagine the consequences. With lines blurred, the mind never shuts down. Personal priorities take a back seat to pings, texts, calls, and alerts from our devices. In effect, it's turning non-critical jobs into "always on call" commitments.

I like how Microsoft's Satya Nadella reframed this: "We think about productivity through collaboration and output metrics," he noted in Bloomberg, "but well-being is one of the most important pieces of productivity."

It's a wake-up call for CEOs, eager to set new profit records and show growth. While, once upon a time, productivity might have been a more nebulous concept without strict metrics attached, our digital transformation -- especially in always-on remote work models -- has given us metrics for everything. How many hours are employees online? How many emails do they send? How many messages are exchanged? How quickly is each project completed? Everything can be measured.

What's lost in that sea of numbers, however, is our happiness quotient. It's hard -- perhaps impossible -- to put a number on that, and yet if we're not "well," our productivity goes down. All leaders see is a drop in metrics, but the root cause remains hidden.

The clarion call for CEOs here is this: Ask the right questions. Instead of leaning into "Why did your productivity fall?" we should be asking, "How are you feeling? What do you need to feel rested, balanced, and engaged? How can the company support you?"

And yes, offering wellness courses and company resources is a start -- a nod to a strong mental, emotional, and physical foundation that makes measurable productivity possible. However, it's important to remember that well-being is a fussy, messy, human thing that can't accurately be measured. You need to have conversations with your people and let them lead their own well-being. Encourage them to ask for help, to articulate moments of overwhelm, to disconnect and recharge.

Remote work seems like a boon. And, in many ways, it is: It offers us convenience, comfort, and profound flexibility. Yet it also opens the door to overzealous metrics tracking that simply misses the wellness mark -- arguably the most important part of a company's ultimate success.

And if you need evidence of our zeal for "crushing the numbers," just look to the battalions of white-collar workers now settling in for a third shift at night, tapping out emails on mobile devices while they back-burner their personal lives. Perhaps that deserves its own metric -- the number of emails and messages sent outside working hours.