Do you feel drained from constantly staring at screens at work? It is no secret that technology is playing a bigger role in the workplace. It has been estimated that an adult can spend up to 11 hours a day looking at a screen. This extended use has created a range of problems, from social isolation to eye strain, and the term ‘digital wellness’ is becoming increasingly popular in all kinds of UK businesses . The term digital wellness is the pursuit of a healthier relationship with technology in the workplace and personal life.
impact of the pandemic on digital wellness
How did the pandemic change your relationship with technology? For most people the pandemic made people more reliant on technology. Most people had to work from home due to government restrictions and this naturally led to an increase in screen time. This was not only work related but statistics show that during the lockdown in the UK people spent 40% of their day watching TV and using online video services.
did the increase in screen time have a negative impact on your mental health?
It is now well known that an increase in screen time has an effect on your mental health. A study by the British Medical Journal discovered a link between high screen time, obesity and depression. Although this was also acknowledged prior to March 2020, the pandemic intensified the discussion of digital wellness and made more people aware of the need to develop healthier relationships with their tech devices. For HR departments, another concern was that whilst 42% of employees feel comfortable discussing physical issues at work only 14% felt comfortable discussing issues regarding mental health. This imbalance requires a detailed analysis of existing procedures if staff productivity and resources are to be managed post-covid. So what can businesses and HR departments do to address digital wellness?
tip 1: move communication to the right platform
Have you ever had a meeting that could have been summarised in an email? Using the appropriate platform to communicate can help to reduce screen time. For something that is complicated, having a ten minute video call to clarify any misunderstanding may be better than an email and vice versa. On the flip side, if you are using email as your communication channel then avoid including people who are not part of the message. It is also important to use the correct @mentions so that the appropriate people are notified.
tip 2: un-plugged activities at work
More work environments can help to support their employees' digital wellbeing by providing days, half days or even hours where they limit the use of technology. These days could involve brainstorming sessions and other team building projects that bring employees face-to-face.
Businesses can also make employees aware of screen time limits that can be set on phones. Putting screen time limits on the apps that you use the most will act as a reminder that you should put your phone away and take a break away from your device.
tip 3: switching off after work /screen time limits
After work it is important to switch off and relax and put away your tech devices for some time. A study discovered that 39% of people said that technology made it hard to remove work life from home life. This study also found that people who work from home are more likely to continue working after working hours. Just think about it, you have just spent a whole day in front of a screen and now you want to look at another screen. It is important to have hobbies that do not involve the use of technology. It has been estimated that the average UK adult spends at least three hours scrolling through social media. What activities do you want to try but can never find the right time? Maybe cutting back on social media is the solution for you.
In order to improve your digital wellbeing on a workday it is important to follow these steps:
- Identify the most effective channel of communication for each task
- Have time at work where the use of technology is limited
- Do activities at work that do not involve looking at a screen
- Actively manage your work/home life balance for a better relationship with technology
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