“Don’t become a slave to technology. Manage your phone. Don’t let it manage you.” – Richard Branson

In today’s fast-paced world, most of us are hooked on technology! From our smartphones to smartwatches, tablets, laptops etc., there are screens everywhere we turn, distracting us with constant notifications and pop-ups. Surveys have found that we check our phones up to 150 times a day and about 60% of us check our emails when on holiday!

The very technology that is supposed to make everything faster and more efficient has now become an addiction. Yes, digital technology is both a blessing and a curse for individuals as well as for companies.

Technology has had a huge impact in the corporate sector. From video conferences to soft copies and even work from home options, technology has transformed the modern workplace. Almost anything is accomplished in just a click!  Yet, there are downsides to this technological revolution too.

The short-term spikes in productivity that companies see may follow the law of diminishing returns. Deloitte research suggests that the value derived from the always connected employee can be undermined by negative factors like increased cognitive load and reduced employee performance and well-being.

Striking the fine balance and getting the most from people and technology involves the cultivation of healthy technology habits and not addictive behaviour. Hence, companies are now encouraging employees to take short breaks from digital technology whenever possible.

How does digital detox boost productivity?

  • Decreased stress levels:

BMW and Volkswagen turn off emails at the end of the office hours to allow employees to relax while at home. This helps to relieve the tensions of the work day!

  • Improve focus and concentration on the task at hand:

The attention span of humans has decreased considerably since the launch of the smartphone. Our attention span now is thought to be less than that of a goldfish! There are constant distractions in the form of updates on our gadgets, phones ringing etc.  A short break from technology improves focus and subsequently increases productivity.

  • Feel recharged and energised:

Even on holidays, most people are constantly on their gadgets. A real break from these gizmos will recharge and re-energise us!

How can companies harness the power of digital technology while ensuring that the positives outweigh the negatives?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Keep tech-free zones in the company where employees can socialise with one another
  • Encourage employees to spend some time outside in nature (walking meetings etc.) 
  • Educate employees on the importance of exercise
  • Hold webinars on the importance of digital detox
  • And perhaps most importantly, create a work culture that encourages digital detox!

Richard Branson introduced a requirement in his organisation for all employees to turn off their email for two hours a week during working hours! This was done in a bid to improve creativity and wellbeing of the employees.

Let’s strike a balance in this digital world with a culture that encourages healthy technology habits in our respective places of work too!

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