The benefits of encouraging your employees to have a digital detox

As we head further into the 21st century, technology is becoming increasingly more prevalent and integral in our everyday lives. Most office-based businesses rely on access to online resources, and many of us would struggle without the use of our personal phones. Since technology has become more integral in our lives, though, many have become concerned about the health implications devices can have. Whilst many of us have no choice but to use them for business purposes, our mental and physical health can benefit from limiting our exposure to screens each day.

Improve relationships with others

As an employer, try allocating device-free slots throughout the day in your workplace. You could perhaps ban the use of technology during breaks, and encourage employees to talk to each other or spend some time outside. The increased use of devices, particularly in social situations, has been shown to reduce the instances of interpersonal interaction, which not only instils feelings of loneliness in the long term, but also prevents us from being able to develop our face-to-face communication skills. By putting the screens down for at least one hour per day, we can develop stronger and more personal relationships with others.

Better night’s sleep

Exposure to screens, particularly late at night, inhibits our ability to have a good night’s sleep. The blue light emitted from our devices halts the production of melatonin – the hormone that controls our circadian rhythm, and when disrupted, reduces our quality of sleep and makes it harder for us to switch off. It’s important that, to remain healthy and stay productive at work, we all have a good night’s sleep wherever possible. As an employer, you can encourage this by stopping access to e-mails after working hours, and by asking employees to leave their work devices in the office at the end of the day.

Productivity and creativity

Those who take regular breaks away from technology tend to be more productive and creative throughout the day. Simply taking a walk in the outdoors can refresh the mind, nourishing it with a fresh burst of energy and creativity to take on the next few working hours. Spending too much time in front of a screen not only causes physical health conditions, such as RSI and eye strain, but it also overloads our brain with large amounts of information that, when accumulated, can inhibit our ability to produce innovative ideas.

Improved mental health

Being present online can trick us into believing that we’re interacting more with others, and staying up-to-date with everything we need to know. The reality is that by conversing with others online, we’re missing out on crucial aspects of interpersonal communication that as humans, we need exposure to in order to avoid feelings of loneliness. In addition, a large amount of the ‘news’ we read online isn’t factually accurate; you’ll gain as much information as you need to know by simply reading a newspaper, and the time you save browsing online, you can spend conversing with others.

Reduce stress

Online presence has, unsurprisingly, been linked to feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. The online world is an extremely fast paced one, with news posts rarely lasting longer than 30 minutes. Negative interactions and online abuse have also increasingly become an issue, particularly over email and social media outlets. In the workplace, it may be best to filter out access to personal messaging services where appropriate, to avoid internet misuse.

Although it is becoming increasingly more difficult to regulate online use, there are measures that you, as an employer, can take to reduce its impact on your employees. To discuss this in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team.

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