There has been a strong drive by companies to digitise the world of work, yet many employees are struggling to cope with this drastic change.
According to the 2018 Gallup study, about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job. These employees who feel burnout are more likely to take sick days and look for a job elsewhere due to low confidence at work.
So what can be done to keep workers productive in the digital workplace while avoiding burnout? One solution is to focus on the digital wellbeing of employees.
What is digital wellbeing?
Digital wellbeing looks at the impact of technology on people’s physical and mental health.
Many employees use technology to get their work done. Therefore it is important to look closely at the technology being used at work, as it has a big part to play in the productivity of employees on a day-to-day basis.
While digitising work has brought countless benefits, it can also act as a hindrance.
Digitising work has led to three common issues:
- Notifications disrupting focus: Productivity decreases as employees get inundated with emails and messages while trying to concentrate on their work.
According to a study, people in interrupted conditions experienced higher workload and frustration, more stress and time pressure, as well as increased effort to complete their work. So while interrupted work forced people to work quickly, this comes at a cost to workers’ health.
- Working past set hours: Being perpetually connected has resulted in workers receiving responses outside working hours. This robs employees of downtime to recharge, but it also disrupts work-life balance as people are forced to continue working outside their working hours.
A 2019 guide by Quartz Insights and Citrix found that 67% of respondents believed being “always-on” had a significant negative impact on their health and wellbeing.
- Increasing digital fatigue: The constant use of technology can push people to become mentally exhausted and demotivated to carry on working.
Conducted during the UK national lockdown in 2020, a study found out that remote working generally led to increased tiredness and longer recovery time for employees compared to in-person office work.
Why should businesses consider the digital wellbeing of their workforce?
Digital wellbeing can generate solutions to problems that arise in the digital workplace. Workers can mitigate constant notifications that disrupt their workflow and act as a barrier towards productivity.
Businesses can acknowledge that working hours have expanded, and through digital wellbeing, initiatives can be put into place to stabilise the work-life balance of employees.
The physical and mental discomfort of working digitally can be alleviated with digital wellbeing, so employees can perform at the best of their ability.
If unmanaged, these problems will grow until employees experience burnout and step away from the workplace, forcing productivity to a halt.
How can your business implement digital wellbeing in the workplace?
To keep employees focused:
- Encourage workers to set their availability status. Advise employees to be respectful when someone is busy, letting people concentrate on their work with minimal distractions.
- Limit communication by using the right platform. As fluctuations in using different forms of remote communication are detrimental to the wellbeing of employees, try to restrict communication by sending information using the right platform (emails, chat, video calls etc.).
To avoid employees working beyond certain hours:
- Establish core hours for employees to be available. Advise colleagues not to contact others outside these hours unless it’s an urgent matter.
- Encourage workers to set additional small breaks. Time away from the screen to move around will be beneficial for both people’s physical and mental health.
- Create a hybrid workplace. With flexible work arrangements, colleagues can choose to spend some of their time in an office. Leaving the office alleviates the pressure to carry on working outside working hours.
To reduce digital fatigue:
- Make one day a week virtual meeting free. Research has shown that video calls cause fatigue because it requires higher levels of self-control and emotional regulation compared to other remote communications. Arranging a day without video meetings will help employees feel less exhausted.
- Give colleagues adequate time to recover. Respect health issues that arise while working digitally and provide support by giving workers time to destress.
- Set up wellbeing programs. Refer employees to wellbeing initiatives – such as gym memberships, mindfulness sessions and life coaching at Ceed – so they can manage their physical and mental health.
Employers should make it a priority for employees to be healthy whilst working at their company. Leveraging technology through digital wellbeing will create a satisfied and productive workforce ready to excel at their work.
Thinking about digital wellbeing for your business? At Ceed, we are here to support your business so it succeeds in the digital workplace. Check out our website to learn more.