Digital Wellness in the Workplace
Technology has woven itself into almost every fabric of our life. Our career is no exception. Whether you work for a large corporation or run a small business, you, more than likely, have to frequently deal with a computer or phone. This begs the question: how can we live more analog in the workplace when our whole job revolves around technology?
Analog Jobs Becoming Scarce
The definition of the word analog is:
Analog • Adj.Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/analog
an·a·log | \ ˈa-nə-ˌlȯg
: not digital : not computerized
One study found that digital tools have made its way to 517 of 545 occupations since 2002, with a striking uptick in many lower-skilled occupations. Those 545 occupations reflect 90% of all jobs in the economy.
“Well… so much for analog living at work since I spend eight hours a day on my computer,” you might say. And this is true. While analog living has become far more inaccessible for the modern day workforce, this reinforces the importance of, at the minimum, practicing digital wellness in the workplace.
Digital Wellness and Beyond
To increase digital wellness at work, there are still principles of analog living you can follow in the process. Continue reading to see which actions you can start taking today to increase your digital wellbeing during the workday and position yourself for analog living outside of office hours.
1. Use Your Computer Appropriately
The vast majority of workers frequently find themselves engaging with information unrelated to the task at hand. In fact, one study found that the average worker is distracted or interrupted every 40 seconds when working in front of their computer.
With the amount of information at our disposal, it takes very little time and effort to engage with unconstructive (and unrelated) multimedia. However, for the sake of analog living and digital wellness, it is important to recognize what you are at work to accomplish.
While using a computer at work is inevitable, the way you use the computer is, ultimately, your choice. For this reason, stay focused on your work and avoid unrelated distractions. This is one analog principle you can start practicing today, even if you still use technology at work just as much.
2. Turn Off Push Notifications
The suggestion to put your phone on silent mode is often mentioned as a personal digital wellness tip. However, it applies just as much to our phone during work hours.
The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ applies to some circumstances. Phones fall outside of this category. According to one study, the mere presence of one’s smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity and impairs cognitive functioning.
Phones have turned into a true dependency over the last decade. Hence, you will, more than likely, experience the urge to check on your silent phone if you find yourself tethered to it. A step you can take to filter out some of the noise (when your push notifications are active) is to only designate texts and phone calls to appear on the lock screen. This will, at least, make your life a little more quiet.
3. Experience Your Work Break Fully
Many employees use their work break to eat lunch and take a restroom break. However, this also ends up becoming a period where employees mindlessly use their phone. Perhaps use your break as an opportunity to take a brief walk around the office or building, have genuine conversations, or simply enjoy your meal.
Perhaps there is an important personal task you must take care of during the day that involves technology. While it may prevent you from experiencing your work break fully, this would involve using technology in a more deliberate way. It is important to draw the line between how technology can help you further your life and how it can take away from the real-life moments you could be experiencing.
4. Opt for Face-to-Face Communication
Since many office workers have assumed remote working roles over the last couple years, in-person interaction has significantly decreased. Some ways you can facilitate more face-to-face communication during business hours is to work from the office, meet with prospective clients in person, and walk to the other side of the office to consult a colleague instead of sending an email or calling them.
Human-to-human interaction has become increasingly replaced with digital dialog. This creates a valuable correlation between analog living and verbal communication. Increasing your face-to-face efforts introduces a more analog element to your workday and puts our conversation skills into practice as well.
5. Write Your Notes on Paper
Whenever your organization has a meeting, do you write your notes on paper, or do you type your notes into your laptop or phone? Taking written notes is a measure that can limit the number of devices during meetings. Chances are, you’re already looking at a computer screen, so rather than introducing more screens into the mix, opt to keep your note taking process more analog.
Writing notes on paper also comes with more benefits than just the analog component. The present research, according to one study, suggests that even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing. Thus, workplace performance is also enhanced from the analog way of taking notes.
Same Work, New Mindset
While technology will only continue to remain a large part of your work day, there are personal choices you can make to maintain digital wellness. You may find it uncomfortable to make subtle adjustments. However, you may find that taking certain actions for your workplace wellbeing makes you approach technology with a new perspective.