Let’s be honest, we’re all a little fed up with being plugged in all the time. There is a constant need to be connected to email, social media, smart phones, laptops, tablets…the list goes on and on. We use technology in all aspects of life, but a major part of that is in the workplace.
The truth is, being constantly connected to technology doesn’t hold many health benefits. In fact, being plugged in all the time can have some negative health outcomes including:
- Increased stress
- More distractions which can lead to lower productivity
- Lack of personal, face-to-face communication and teamwork
- A tendency to bring work home which can decrease work-life balance
- A variety of physical health problems like declining health from sitting at a computer all day, and harmful posture and damaged eyesight from looking at a screen for a long time
Some might say it’s a necessary evil, and the only way to get work done in the modern world. We disagree. There are ways to unplug at work (at least a little bit), and tackle these health issues while still getting quality work done in a quick and efficient way.
Of course, we wouldn’t make these claims without giving you some ideas. So, as your company’s designated individual focused on the wellness of fellow employees and overall management of the corporate wellness program (which is obviously your official title), check out these five things you can implement to become a less connected, more productive workplace.
#1 Device-Free Meetings
Meetings are a time to connect with the people in the room. Whether it’s to share status-updates, brainstorm solutions or work through a joint project, there doesn’t need to be a lot of outside connection. Consider making meetings in your office device-free, meaning don’t bring smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. unless absolutely necessary.
#2 Discourage Notifications
Notifications for appointment reminders and emergency updates are great. But, do you really need a notification for every email, social media post and company-wide memo that comes your way? Probably not. These pop-ups can serve as a huge distraction and stress agent, and they can be pretty constant. Try to make the default setting notification-free on the computers in your workplace.
#3 Allow and Encourage Disconnection
Let your employees work for periods of time completely disconnected. No phone, no email, no chat. Just the work they need to get done. You can set the parameters (an hour at a time, only once a day, etc.), but give them this option to step away from the digital world and focus solely on one task.
#4 Designate a Quiet Room
If you have an extra conference room or office space that you just don’t know what to do with, consider converting it into a quiet room. The room would have no phone, no access to email, chat, social media, etc. Set aside this room as a designated space to unplug when it comes time to working through a difficult task. Sometimes a change of scenery is all the boost you need to do your best thinking!
#5 Mandate an Unplug Day
This would be one day a week (or a month, every other week, etc.) where your workforce completely unplugs. If you have a customer service team, or a department that deals directly with your clients or customers, it’s probably a good idea to leave them plugged in, but everyone else gets zero digital communication (phone, email, chat, social media, etc.). This type of collective isolation can boost the teamwork, personal communication, productivity and movement of your employees all week long. Try to pick the day and strategy that works best for your workforce. If you need to, start with a half-day of unplugged-ness (Friday afternoon, for example, to limit distractions at the end of the week).
Unplugging at work might seem like a foreign, counter-productive idea. Looking at the negative side-effects of our constant digital connection, however, shows us that intentionally disconnecting can be very healthy!
Discuss these ideas with your wellness committee, employees, bosses, and anyone else who will listen. Find a solution that works best for your company, implement your unplug strategy and promote it like crazy in your corporate wellness program.